Bittersweet Spotting at WMKK | 19th August, 2020

19th August 2020 was a bittersweet day for me and @PlaneLife2018. It had been the first time in about 6 months since I came for a day of spotting. We didn’t catch everything that was inbound that day, but we caught the majority of the day’s specials.

One airline, four liveries. Three of them were supposed to be painted into the new livery (as seen in the furthese plane). However, these plans were scrapped in 2015 due to financial struggles. Leaving the airline with a mix of planes with two types of the same livery (the furthest B737-8H6(WL) 9M-MXV and the second furthest B737-8H6(WL) 9M-MLR).

As of 2020 plans, they would be painted into the 2020 version of the livery, as shown in the second closest B737-8H6(WL) 9M-MXU which stars the slimmer stripes, and have the registration in an unknown font that can also be found on the A330-223, A330-323, A350-941 and A380-841. So far, two Malaysia Airlines B737-8H6(WL) have been painted in the new livery: 9M-MXU and 9M-MXT. As far as I know, the interiors remains unchanged, though that honestly is not a big deal since the plane has a somewhat up to date interior anyways.

This scene is perhaps one of the most bitter, and painful shots, which could also be found globally. Here, five of the six Airbus A380-841 (from left to right: 9M-MNB, 9M-MNA, 9M-MND, 9M-MNF (sporting the 100th Airbus A380 sticker) and 9M-MNE).

What adds to the pain is that the sixth A380-841 is also on the ground, but in the hangar on the other side of the airport undergoing its maintenance and occasionally flying to ensure Malaysia Airline’s pilots are still certified to fly the type. Unfortunately, Malaysia Airlines does not look to be regularly flying the A380-841 anytime in the near future, as the capacity from their A330-223, A330-323 and A390-941 have more than enough capacity to service their medium haul and long haul routes.

Here is a close up image of the Airbus A380-841 bearing the registration 9M-MNE. Flanked by a number of B737-8H6(WL) and A330-323 in the foreground and background respectively. Most of these planes were parked and had covers on, signalling that these were are to be sitting for many months yet to come. Unfortunately, this hails true, since the border closure in Malaysia and general fear of travelling abroad has taken its toll on the airline industry.

My friend @PlaneLife2018 and myself got a little lucky with this shot, as AirAsia planes were normally seen landing on either runways 15/33 or 32L/14R which is very much further than this taxiway. However, due to recent circumstances, for which I have assumed involves the airport wear wanting to be equalised or general runway repavement maintanence, flights operated solely on runway 14L and 15, and none on 14R.

This is 9M-VAA, AirAsia Group’s first of a planned 353 A321-251NX. And given that AirAsia has a reputation of painting special liveries on their planes, they certainly wanted to mark the arrival of this plane with a special “3, 2, 1, take off” livery. It’s vibrant colours are simply unparalleled, and you just have to see it to believe it.

This is B-16713, a B777-35E(ER) of EVA Air. The 10th of 24 B777-35E(ER) in EVA Air, this plane has definitely been serving long and well for the Taiwanese airline. Ahead of the stormy background, rays of light shining down on the Sepang Circuit which used to host the Formula One Grand Prix and other feeder racing series until 2017 certainly makes for a contrasting light show.

I have always wanted to fly EVA Air, after hearing well about their premium products from a number of friends and family who have flown on them to Canada and the United States. Coupled with the fact that EVA Air are rated the 15th safest airline in the world, I would definitely want to take a look in the near future.

Shortly before the departure of the EVA Air back to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, this China Airlines B777-36N(ER) arrived on runway 14L and was vacating as I took a shot of this. Admittedly, I went a little too early and missed the rest of the Sepang Circuit grandstand which would have stood as an amazing background.

B-18055 was the 4th of 10 B777-300ER in the China Airline fleet, this plane has been spotted all around the world in cities from Shanghai to Frankfurt, Nanjing to Los Angeles, I am glad to add Kuala Lumpur onto the list of places this plane has been spotted from.

This image is perhaps one of the most encapsulating about my entire life. That being the hobby I have for motorsports and aviation. Not to mention that I am currently the Vice President of Qatar Airways Virtual, getting a good shot at this plane really boosted my morale, and given the current circumstance, this photo does mean a fair bit to me. In addition to this, the sun came out at the perfect moment, as just barely 15 minutes prior to this photo being taken, the background was covered in nothing but monsoon downfall, that said, the climate of Malaysia is known to be a rapidly changing one, going from sunshine to the heaviest rain in the year and back to the hottest sunshine within 30 minutes.

This is A7-BEE, the 28th of 48 B777-3DZ(ER) and 37th of 57 B777 in the Qatar Airways fleet, this is a relatively new plane, only being a month over 5 years old at the time of this shot being taken. Whilst I have not flown on this exact plane which is equipped with the QSuite cabin, I have flown on Qatar’s other B777-300ER, B777-200LR, A350-900 and A350-1000, I can truly say that Qatar Airways is very much right in saying their business class product is the “First in Business”. I honestly think that their business class product will be unparalleled in the time to come, and that when I plan to fly on long or ultra long haul flights in the future, I will be sure to want to get a QSuite aircraft.

This is the first non B777-300ER type which I caught today coming from a foreign airline, and this just had to be the “Choose Japan” livery on Etihad’s B787-9. This exact plane, A6-BLS, is 1 of 2 painted in the “Choose Japan” livery, and 1 of 12 from the “Choose” series, involving countries like Thailand, Singapore, Italy, USA, China, Saudi Arabia, and of course, Japan.

Being one of the special liveries, this plane was partly one of the reasons as to why I made this last minute spotting trip. However, the real reason lies in the next 2 pictures, and for good reason.

Now here is a rare shot that I don’t think anybody would have expected to catch. This is A7-CGA, a Gulfstream G650 that came out of no where. My friend and I were tracking planes on our phones using FlightRadar 24, and we both saw a Gulfstream G650. However, what we didn’t expect was for it to land at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. This is because VIP and private jets normally land at Subang Airport which has a suitable facility to land planes like these. That said, we only realised that this Qatar Executive Jet landed as it was vacating runway 14L. What was more surprising is that this plane taxiied in along the passenger apron, which gave us the close up shot that is shown above.

I don’t exactly have much information with regards to this aircraft, but what I was told was that this plane dropped off a passenger at Singapore, and then flew to Kuala Lumpur to park since parking fees are cheaper here. In addition, this plane was parked at the VIP terminal of Kuala Lumpur which is normally reserved for foreign dignitaries, government officials and other special occasions, so seeing this aircraft parked there is a very unusual sight. That said, this photo definitely has to be up there on its rarity.

This is 9M-MTE, the 5th of 15 A330-323, and the 5th of 21 A330 in the Malaysia Airlines fleet. This was the aircraft that I came for with such short notice, and this was originally painted in the OneWorld livery, as every airline as a member of the alliance are obligated to do so. However, just a day prior to this, this special livery was revealed and I thought I just had to get a shot of this. This is officially called the “Negaraku OneWorld” livery, however, what makes this special is the fact that this is the first plane to have two special liveries painted onto the exact same aircraft. This was painted just 12 days before the Independence Day (better known as Merdeka Day in Malaysia), and there was talk that the sister plane, 9M-MTJ would also be painted into this “Negaraku Livery” without the OneWorld decal.

This livery can also be found in Infinite Flight, on the A350-941 where the developers have added in 9M-MAC from Malaysia Airlines. It’s one of the most vibrant liveries out there, and quite honestly, definitely in contention for one of the best special liveries out there. It’s colours are just simply stunning and so bright, that a camera just does not do it any justice whatsoever.

Also having had to luck to have flown on a lot of planes in Malaysia Airline, I just had to have had the luck to have flown on planes such as 9M-MXS (B737-8H6(WL)), 9M-MAC (A350-941, also found in Infinite Flight), 9M-MAG, and many others which also carry this livery. And as a Malaysian, I am frankly proud of stepping into a plane with this livery, as it carries a sense of national pride. And even though this post was to be published some 6 days after Malaysia’s national day, this livery just does not lose it’s appeal, and as some of my friends in the aviation community attests, this livery just catches them off guard with how amazing it looks.

To round off this post I want to start by thanking @PlaneLife2018 for being willing enough to lend me his camera after my camera’s motherboard went bust. Not to mention that he came within about a 90 minute window after spotting 9M-MTE at a stand so close to us. We were perhaps one of the lucky few to be one of the first to have ever caught this plane right out of the paint shop, so this has to be up there on how rare and amazing it generally is.

And yes, I will be eating more chocolate muffins at the airport.

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Those are some very beautiful pictures.

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Thanks a lot!

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Oh, look! We see our planes. What a beautiful shot!

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Is there a coincidence between 3, 2, 1, takeoff and the current condition?

It really broke my heart to see these sightings are common nowadays. With all aircraft parking all around the apron and taxiways. Fingers crossed everything will be normalized soon :)

Great photos @LordWizrak @PlaneLife2018

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Here’s a drop of good news for you though. Some airlines (Malaysia Airlines included) have scheduled some services with the A388 on highly dense routes. Though there are a fair few on very well known routes like Dubai-London, Dubai-Paris etc, Malaysia Airlines has for some reason opted to run the A388 on routes to Madinah for the Haji Pilgrimage for muslims, rather than running their A330s. That said, I honestly hope that travel does not resume so that we can curb the rate of infection, but seeing those planes in the skies again will surely be a nice way to start the new era of aviation.

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What an epic trip and thanks to @LordWizrak who informed me about 9M-MTE, which leads to more and more and more epic pics. Also, hopefully you’ll be able to finish two muffins within 6 hours next time😂

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Ah yes. Thankfully Malaysia Airlines can use A388 for Hajj Pilgrimage routes. As when travel can resume, it is a balance of economy and health so yes, if travel were to resume the infection rate must be close to 0 before mass travel can be allowed

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4 MUFFINS 2 HOURS! I did it in 2 hours.

But mask is not worn after that “2 hours” 🤔

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I also have 2 sandwich and a bowl of chicken curry rice

Probably over your daily suggested food intake 😂 having MCD would be better tho

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I was just a hangry boi ok. Let me have my depression food

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