18th December 2021, Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Here we are again, just under 3 days after the last spotting day. I have initially decided not to head to the airport due to torrential rain, but hey, guess who’s flying today?
My heart goes to the victims affected by the flash flood in Peninsular Malaysia though, stay strong, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Runway in use: 32L arrival, 32R departure
Spotting location: Various
Weather conditions: Showers (visibility varies)
To begin, we’ve got AirAsia’s long lived 100th aircraft livery, featuring a dragon to celebrate the Dragon New Year back in 2012. 9M-AQH, who turned 10 years old this month has been flying for the low cost giant since its rollout. I am also honoured to have flown on this aircraft a few weeks back with their old interior version, which I find more comfortable than the newer, thinner seats.
While I may be out of luck on this day, it never gets boring to see a widebody close by. Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A330-323X wearing the original standard livery coming back from Kuching. I am anticipating this aircraft to be one of the next to feature the Negaraku Livery, along with 9M-MTC, 9M-MTF and 9M-MTN.
One of the first visitors from the far side, China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER registered as B-18052 for a passenger run from Taipei. Definitely nice to see these long-haul widebodies dispatched to nearby destinations with high demand, especially with the T7 that is known for its product quality in China Airlines. Having only flown on their now-retired 747, I wonder how much has CI improved from there.
Next up comes the Malaysian ambassador, 9M-RAR by AirAsia. This A320neo was decorated with the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 stickers as an attempt to attract more foreign tourists into the country, though this did not work out for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, the decals continue to fly around and we truly hope Malaysia is able to open up its borders when the risk is fair, seeing that it takes up a significant proportion of GDP each year.
And here’s the whole point of visiting the airport for the final time in 2021. After some check-in issues and what not, @LordWizrak made it to the boarding gate and was on this aircraft, 9M-MLK bound for Penang International Airport. This aircraft has the latest standard livery, though in the cabin, the old interior remained untouched. The livery can be compared side by side with its sister ship 9M-MXQ, who has the older livery. Behind these two joins 9M-MLG with MH’s original livery dating back to the 90s. I’d say it is a good representation of MH’s standard livery history.
Chocks off, beacon on, pushback clearance received and on their way. 9M-MLK pushing back without any significant delays, which is surprising as the airport was still clearing up the backlogs of delayed departures following a ramp freeze not long ago.
More pictures of 9M-MLK. Honestly, the new white shade looks much better in overcast/rain conditions, maybe this is what we need when we have some kind of monsoon weather all year round.
Checking controls and flaps set, a send off done for @LordWizrak’s stupid but fair decisions. Back to the spotting action.
More AirAsia again, but this time featuring the new kid in town - 9M-VAB, the second A321-251NX in the airline and country. This 2-year-old airframe has been important to AirAsia’s recovery plan, being the minority fleet that can fly up to 236 passengers (fun fact: this is more than Japan Airlines’ typical 787-8 and the same as Qantas’ 787-9), thus it is currently used for AirAsia’s KL-Singapore rotation in light of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL). However, in this shot, VAB is heading to Langkawi, a popular destination for local tourists and is surely needed during the end-of-year peak season.
Our final shot of the year ends with this Qatari 777-300ER, which by luck, is taxiing into the gates near the spotting location. A7-BAJ may not feature a special livery, but their standard paint scheme looks just as spectacular, and once again, it never hurts to spot these widebodies close up.
All in all, this could be considered a “bad day” of spotting with the lack of any variety whatsoever, but I’m sure we will pick up some more luck in the coming year. This would probably be the final spotting session of 2021, and again thank you @LordWizrak for somewhat convincing me to send him off and struggle to commute home under the heavy rain. See you in 2022 as I enjoy the warm coast of Penang for the rest of the year.
Also McDonald’s ice cream machines are fixed, apple pie tasted great too.