"South China Shuffle"
March 2004

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

"Three countries in one day"

After an improving all the time night's sleep on the hardest hotel bed in China - the second hardest had been slept on the previous night in Guangzhou - I awoke with the biggest worry of the trip, just how succesful we were to be in getting a good log in Shenzhen. Seeing the first arrivals, a couple of Shenzhen Airlines aircraft, was a massive relief, as it was evident that they had 'switched ends' from the previous evening. The day seemed a little less gloomy too, and we found no problems in reading off landers or aircraft taxying for take-off. It seems to take some time in China for night-stopping aeroplanes to operate their first flight of the day, with the third of some of those target frames for this part of the trip, the four China Southern Airbus A319s, not departing until around 10 o'clock. We left the hotel at 11 to check-in for our flight to our next destination.

The original plan for the trip called for surface transport, probably by ferry, for our return to Hong Kong, with another subsequent side day-trip being made to Macau - it soon became apparent however that this would cut down on our time at Chek Lap Kok significantly, as the Macau day-trip would have to be done on one of only two full days we had planned there. In what would seem a simple amendment, but which would prove to be a master-stroke of planning, he who has good ideas like that decreed that we should return to Hong Kong via Macau, spending a whole afternoon there. Air transport was booked, again through travelocity.co.uk, the Air Macau flight costing again, approximately 55. Macau would appear to be Shenzhen Airport's only international passenger destination, and the check-in took a bit of finding, stuck around a corner at the south end of the terminal. We were disappointed to find that the small departure lounge for the Macau flight in the same area was to be the limit to our 'pier walking', but it wasn't all that bad, giving a view of traffic taxying back to the terminal after landing, one of which during our time waiting for the flight was our fourth and last China Southern A319, which presumably night-stops elsewhere, as well as the cargo ramp to the south of the terminal which held the Malaysian 727, our first China Postal Y-8 of the trip, and three executive jets, the CAAC Citation 650 we had seen in Hong Kong, and a pair of Chinese-registered Hawker 800XPs, again one of which was 'old'.

I 'copped' 19 at Shenzhen during the morning, including another 18 from the 65 or so Chinese mainland airliners we logged. I came away still needing one China Southern A320 however, and also just one Shenzhen Airlines 737, an -800 variant, while we didn't see as many China Southern 737-800s as we might have hoped for, only one being seen, and remaining un-identified as it departed whilst we waited for boarding.

Mon 15/3/04 Shenzhen-Baoan SZX/ZGSZ

9M-TGE 727-247F 21697 1471 Transmile Malaysia
B-2052 777-21B 27358 24 China Southern Airlines
B-2058 777-21BER 27605 110 China Southern Airlines
B-2060 777-2J6 29154 173 Air China
B-2063 777-2J6 29156 214 Air China
B-2100 MD-90-30 60001 4001 China Northern Airlines
B-2132 DC-9-82 49516 1622 China Northern Airlines
B-2143 DC-9-82 49851 1807 China Southern Airlines
B-2210 A.320-214 1296 Air China
B-2262 MD-90-30 53585 2224 China Eastern Airlines
B-2266 MD-90-30 53532 2253 China Northern Airlines
B-2338 A.320-214 1361 China Eastern Airlines
B-2340 A.320-232 0540 Sichuan Airlines
B-2341 A.320-232 0551 Sichuan Airlines
B-2366 A.320-232 0859 China Southern Airlines
B-2367 A.320-232 0881 China Southern Airlines
B-2369 A.320-232 0900 China Southern Airlines
B-2369 A.320-232 0900 China Southern Airlines
B-2378 A.320-214 0939 China Eastern Airlines
B-2391 A.320-232 0950 China Southern Airlines
B-2392 A.320-232 0966 China Southern Airlines
B-2392 A.320-232 0966 China Southern Airlines
B-2393 A.320-232 1035 China Southern Airlines
B-2537 737-3Z0 25089 2027 Air China (ex China Southwest Airlines)
B-2541 737-5Y0 24696 1960 China Southern Airlines
B-2563 767-36D 27309 546 Shanghai Airlines
B-2633 737-79K 29190 110 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2635 737-79K 29191 127 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2666 737-78S 30169 631 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2667 737-78S 30170 654 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2667 737-78S 30170 654 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2668 737-78S 30171 681 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2669 737-77L 32722 1023 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2678 737-76N 32244 895 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2691 737-8Q8 30628 808 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2912 737-5Y0 26100 2538 China Southern Airlines
B-2932 737-3K9 25787 2302 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2933 737-3K9 25788 2331 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2939 737-31L 27345 2625 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2940 737-31L 27346 2636 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2965 737-4Q8 26334 2782 Hainan Airlines
B-2967 737-4Q8 26335 2793 Hainan Airlines
B-2971 737-3Q8 25373 2290 Shenzhen Airlines
B-2973 737-505 26336 2805 Xiamen Airlines
B-2973 737-505 26336 2805 Xiamen Airlines
B-2976 737-3S3 29244 3059 China Eastern Airlines (ex Wuhan Airlines)
B-2982 737-36Q 28657 2859 Hainan Airlines (China Xinhua titles)
B-2989 737-46Q 28758 2939 Hainan Airlines (China Xinhua titles)
B-2995 737-35N 29315 3054 Shandong Airlines
B-3078 RJ-200ER 7704 Shandong Airlines
B-3101 Shanxi Y-8 China Postal Airlines
B-3991 Hawker 800XP 258470
B-3996 Hawker 800XP 258536
B-5025 737-7BX 30741 823 Shenzhen Airlines
B-5026 737-7BX 30742 864 Shenzhen Airlines
B-5028 737-75C 30034 1275 Xiamen Airlines
B-5049 737-86N 28639 772 Shenzhen Airlines
B-5050 737-86N 28643 828 Shenzhen Airlines
B-5057 737-330QC 23837 1514 Hainan Airlines (Yangtze River Express fcs)
B-5060 737-76N 28582 154 Hainan Airlines (Shan Xi Airlines titles)
B-5061 737-76N 28583 163 Hainan Airlines (Shan Xi Airlines titles)
B-5073 737-8Q8 30680 1402 Shenzhen Airlines
B-5075 737-8Q8 30692 1410 Shenzhen Airlines
B-5078 737-8Q8 30690 1414 Shenzhen Airlines
B-5079 737-8Q8 30693 1422 Shenzhen Airlines
B-6018 A.319-132 1971 China Southern Airlines
B-6019 A.319-132 1986 China Southern Airlines
B-6020 A.319-132 2004 China Southern Airlines
B-6021 A.319-132 2008 China Southern Airlines
B-7022 Citation 650 0220 CAAC
B-MAO A.319-132 1962 Air Macau

Click for a closer look Click for a closer look
Click for a closer look Click for a closer look
Click for a closer look Click for a closer look
Click for a closer look Click for a closer look
Click for a closer look Click for a closer look

Our very full Air Macau A319 B-MAO lifted off a little late from Shenzhen, for what we knew would be a short flight - just sixteen minutes later we were touching down on Macau's 'runway in the sea'. We had been surprised that the short flight had been so full, but on disembarkation we realised why, we being two of only three passengers not to be transitting through to Taiwan - there are still of course no direct flights between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, and as such Macau and Hong Kong benefit greatly from a huge amount of transfer passengers, at the same time providing great opportunities for the spotter !.

We had visited Macau on a day-trip during our last visit to Hong Kong in 1998, but of course recent fleet re-equipment, most notably with the arrival of Airbus A319s, meant that a large proportion of the Air Macau fleet was required by us six years later. With such a small parking area, viewing here is very easy, a cafe on the second floor of the terminal having views out onto the airport, while we spent most of the afternoon outside on the 'on-ramp' to the departures level, looking out onto the runway and eastern part of the apron. While most of the Air Macau fleet that we had missed on the mid-day 'hub' was put away late in the afternoon, the real highlights were the Taiwanese visitors, all, apart from a single Transasia A321 I'd seen in Macau six years previous, being 'new' to me. The EVA Boeing 757, in the full new colour-scheme, was quite breath-taking. Staying until just before dark also allowed the opportunity to positively identify through a line of windows, at least one of two executive jets contained in the Menzies hangar to the east of the terminal, as the lights came on inside. Leaving just one of the Air Macau fleet for another visit - or hopefully for a summer lease in Europe ?, A321 B-MAP, a machine which we suspected had gone to Beijing at mid-day, and would not return until 1900 - we took a taxi to the ferry terminal to catch the TurboJet service to Hong Kong Island. Costing 176HKD - a little more than usual as it was a 'night sailing' - journey time was 1 hour.

For our last two nights, we had decided to stay in a hotel closer to Hong Kong itself, in order to have a couple of 'nights out'. A very reasonable rate of 56 a night was booked through expedia.co.uk, on one of their 'deals of the week', in the rather plush Eaton Hotel on Nathan Road in Kowloon, and for convenience, as we had our luggage, we took a cab straight there, which was a little more expensive than those we were subsequently to take in the next few days, 20HKD being added to the fare for the transit through the harbour tunnel, as well as 10HKD for the luggage. Then it was straight out to the Hard Rock Cafe to re-acquaintance ourselves with the wonderful 'Pig sandwich' ....

I 'made' 12 at Macau during the afternoon, quite an unprecedented 'cop rate' from the total of 19 airliners logged.

Mon 15/3/04 Macau MFM/VMMC

B-16623 767-25E 27194 532 EVA Airways
B-22601 A.321-131 0538 Transasia Airways
B-22605 A.321-131 0606 Transasia Airways
B-22606 A.321-131 0731 Transasia Airways
B-22607 A.321-131 0746 Transasia Airways
B-2591 737-505 25792 2353 Xiamen Airlines
B-2593 737-505 27155 2449 Xiamen Airlines
B-2631 737-7Q8 28212 35 Shanghai Airlines
B-27021 757-27A 29611 910 EVA Airways
B-MAF A.321-131 0620 Air Macau
B-MAG A.321-131 0631 Air Macau
B-MAH A.320-232 0805 Air Macau
B-MAJ A.321-231 0908 Air Macau
B-MAK A.319-132 1758 Air Macau
B-MAL A.319-132 1790 Air Macau
B-MAM A.319-132 1893 Air Macau
B-MAN A.319-132 1912 Air Macau
B-MAO A.319-132 1962 Air Macau
N602EV 767-3T7ER 25117 370 EVA Airways
N708KS Global Express 9015

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