Toulouse is a rare case of a regional airport that is far more interesting than the main hub airports in the country – in this case Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly in France.
Toulouse is one of the two main production sites for Airbus aircraft, as well as ATR Aircraft. So you’ll see rows and rows of new aircraft fresh off the production line wearing exotic liveries of airlines of all corners of the globe which you’ll probably never see again.
Regular traffic is dominated by Air France, easyJet, Ryanair and other regional and low cost carriers. But who cares when the new Airbus and ATR aircraft are visible, right?
One of Sweden’s regional airports. Usually spotters head for Stockholm Arlanda or Bromma airports for spotting in the country, but Malmo is worth a visit if you’re in the area.
The airport is the home base of cargo carrier West Air Sweden, and a hub for other cargo carriers like Amapola Flyg, ASL and UPS Airlines. The cargo aprons and hangars are to the south of the passenger terminal.
Passenger services are provided by AIS Airlines, BRA Braathens Regional, Norwegian, Ryanair, Scandinavian Airlines and Wizz Air, with additional charters in the summer.
There is a small viewing area outside the terminal. Turn left as you leave the building and you’ll see it near the parking garage. There are also views through the fence if you turn right.
DHL 767 at East Midlands
Another popular cargo airport, East Midlands is a great alternative in the UK to the airports of London or Manchester. The only problem is that to do it justice, you need to stay up very late as all of the interesting cargo aircraft tend to operate between 9pm and 3am on weeknights.
So it’s best to plan your trip in the summer months, or book a room at the Radisson Blu hotel which has views of the runway so you can at least watch movements from the comfort of your bed!
Catania is the busiest airport on the island of Sicily; its location close to Mt Etna can make for some stunning backdrops to your photographs. The airport is busiest during the summer months, with a lot of low cost and charter flights from across Europe. Throughout the year there is a steady stream of domestic routes to other parts of Italy.
The airport has a single runway and the terminal is on the north side. To the east is the beach, where you can watch aircraft approaching over the sea. There is a separate heliport further south from the airport which should be avoided as it is also a military installation.
Antalya is a busy and very popular holiday airport in Turkey. It has featured on the radar of enthusiasts in recent years for its combination of good weather and interesting tourist flights from across Europe and, in particular, Middle East, Russia and the CIS.
The airport has three parallel runways, with three small terminals; one in the centre, and the other two at the north side of the airport.
Many spotters choose to base themselves at the Lara Hotel which is good for monitoring all movements and even taking photographs.
Zaporizhia Aviation Tour - Heli Tour Mi-2, Motor Sich Aircrafts, Museum - YouTube
You may not have heard of this one, but if you’re a fan of the mighty Ilyushin Il-76 you need to look it up!
This airport in rural Ukraine is the home base of Motor-Sich airlines, and is the final resting place of row upon row of Il-76s and various other Soviet metal.
There are no official spotting locations at the airport, so the best way to see the aircraft is to fly in and out (Motor Sich fly from Kiev daily) and try to note them all as you fly past, tying them up from spotter reports later.
Billund is a regional airport in central Denmark situated next to the LEGOLAND theme park and resort, which draws many tourists to the area. The airport is also the home base of SUN-AIR, and also sees flights from Ryanair and Wizz Air.
This is also a busy cargo hub served by ASL Airlines and DHL, using facilities to the south of the runway. To its east is an area of maintenance hangars used by SUN-AIR, SAS, and Nordic Aviation Capital – a leasing company based at the airport which often has some of its fleet parked up pending new leases or maintenance.
The road Firhøjevej passes the LEGOLAND entrance, and goes on to pass the maintenance area where you can see through the fence, with the runway beyond.
Shannon in western Ireland isn’t the busy transatlantic gateway that it once was, but it’s still worth a visit for the chance of seeing some interesting traffic.
The passenger terminal occupies the southern side of the airport. Maintenance and storage areas are on the eastern and northern peripheries of the airport, with a main 06/24 runway. There is a complex pattern of disused runways now used as taxiways.
Often you’ll see unusual aircraft at Shannon undergoing maintenance or painting, or in storage. There’s also an old Iberia Boeing 727 (EC-CFA) used by the fire service, visible to the east of the terminal.
There is a public viewing area next to the Lufthansa Technik hangar on the northern perimeter of the airport, close to the runway 24 threshold. The majority of aircraft use this direction for landing, so you will see most movements.
Soldatnytt from Oslo, Norway [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
A joint civil-military airport in northern Norway. Bodø is busiest with domestic flights from Norewgian, SAS and Widerøe (which is based here), and in the summer wakes up to a number of seasonal charters to the Mediterranean. The military base occupies land on the south side of the runway, flying Sea King helicopters and F-16 Fighting Falcons.
One of the best spotting locations is from the Norwegian Aviation Museum to the east of the airport, which has an elevated ‘control tower’ looking over the runway and across to the military base.
You can also walk or drive to the west from the terminal along Langstranda to reach the maintenance base of Widerøe and get some views across to the runway.
Spotting location 2
This airport is located on the road between Lourdes and Tarbes. It is not busy for airline traffic, with only Brussels Airlines, HOP! and Ryanair offering schedules. However, the airport sees a lot of seasonal flights, and Catholic pilgrimage flights.
The main draw for enthusiasts is the collection of stored aircraft on the opposite side of the runway to the terminal. These range from smaller airliners to large widebodies such as Boeing 777s and Airbus A340s. Many are ultimately scrapped, however Airbus will also occasionally place their demonstrator and development aircraft in short term storage here.
It is possible to see most of the stored aircraft from the car park outside the terminal. However, it is also possible to get closer by driving north from the terminal and then towards Ossun. Following side roads towards the stored aircraft you can get some views across the field, however later in the summer the crops can be tall and obscure the view.
Also explore the roads south from the terminal as more airliners are stored by the side of the taxiway.
The major draw of Cologne/Bonn for many enthusiasts is the busy UPS hub which has been based here since 1986. In addition to this the airport is one of Germany’s busiest, serving the former capital city of Bonn and a large catchment area which stretches into Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Many of the airport’s passenger flights are operated by low-cost airlines, including easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, and home-grown airlines Eurowings and TUI fly Deutschland which have bases here.
The airport has two terminals. Most cargo movements operate at night, which can mean that catching everything of interest is difficult. But there is usually a good selection operating or parked up during the day.
The official terrace is provided within Terminal 1 between areas B and C on the fifth floor. The terrace covers views over the apron and northern runway operations, and can usually be relied upon for logging some aircraft at the cargo terminal.
The top level of the Terminal 2 Car Park is another spot with views over the passenger terminal aprons. It can also help with identifying some of the cargo aircraft, and gives limited views of the stored aircraft at the far end of the airfield.
Airport Spotting Guides Europe
Find out where to spot at Manchester and hundreds of other airports across Europe in our new guide book.
Includes maps, spotting locations & directions, lists of airlines, spotting hotels and aviation museums.
With Virgin Atlantic taking delivery of its 12 brand new Airbus A350-1000s, we take a look back at this pioneering British airline founded by Richard Branson in 1984 and the fleet of aircraft types they have flown through the years.
Boeing 747-100 & -200
Operated both for Virgin Sun and Little Red, the A320 fleet was short-lived.
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Virgin’s Airbus A350-1000
Latest to join the fleet will be the Airbus A350-1000, which will begin serving the London Heathrow to New York JFK route on 10 September (see our A350 Routes Page), before more routes from Heathrow and Gatwick are added.
Virgin recently announced an order for 14 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft at the 2019 Paris Air Show. These will be used to replace its older A330 fleet from 2021 and enable further expansion.
Which was your favourite Virgin aircraft? What about your favourite colour scheme? Leave a comment below!
Gatwick is the UK’s second busiest airport, and a major hub serving London and the south east. It is situated at Crawley to the south of London, and is a hub for a number of airlines. It is the world’s busiest single-runway airport.
Sadly, despite the draw of so many aircraft, Gatwick is notoriously difficult to spot at, and a recent change has seen one of the only good spots made more difficult by the addition of an extra fence blocking the view at the end of runway 08R.
So, where can you spot at Gatwick? Here are some suggestions:
Gatwick Spotting Locations
1 Multi-Storey Car Park
The top level of the Blue Multi-Storey car park 1 outside the South Terminal is a nice spot for logging aircraft on short finals to Runway 26L. Facing into the sun is not ideal, however. Signs at this location indicate that spotters are not welcome to loiter, and security will often move you on. A similar view exists from the platforms of the railway station.
2 Runway 26 Approach
From the Multi-Storey Car Park, spotters are often encouraged to go downstairs to a perimeter road/path running past the runway 26 approach lights. Previously you could go through the doors to Concorde House, down the stairs, through the door and then walk along the path. However, some recent reports state going through Concorde House is not possible, so you need to make your way downstairs in the terminal, following signs for Lost Property, then out through the tunnel leading to the path. From here you can see all movements approaching runway 26 or departing 08, but can see little of aircraft on the ground.
3 Runway 08R
Following Charlwood Road and Lowfield Heath Road (postcode RH11 0QB) around the end of Runway 08R leads to a crash gate which is close to aircraft lining up on the runway. It is possible to photograph or log aircraft on short final to land, however views of aircraft on the ground through the crash gate are now obscured by an additional fence. The only way around this is to bring a tall ladder to look over the fence either side, which may draw unwanted attention.
You can still see and photograph aircraft approaching the runway as they pass overhead.
Parking is not allowed near the gate itself so you will need to walk to reach it. You can also get the free bus to Purple Parking and walk the remaining distance.
4 Spotting Hotels
The view from the BLOC Hotel
There are two good spotting hotels at Gatwick. The BLOC Hotel in the South Terminal has panoramic views over the terminals and runway from many of its rooms.
Meanwhile the Sofitel at the North Terminal has rooms on the higher floors facing the airport.
Gatwick is a hub for a number of airlines, including:
Thomas Cook Airlines
Other interesting airlines flying in include Air Arabia Maroc, Air Italy, airBaltic, Aurigny, Belavia, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern, Emirates (A380s), Iraqi Airways, LEVEL, Montenegro Airlines, Qatar Airways, Rossiya, RwandAir, Ukraine International, WestJet and Wizz Air.
A new Boeing maintenance hangar due for completion soon also promises to bring in other interesting aircraft on a regular basis.
Busiest Single Runway
Here’s a video demonstrating how ATC slots landing and departing aircraft into tight gaps on Gatwick’s single runway:
Heavy Traffic at World's second busiest single runway London Gatwick Airport 4K video - YouTube
While on more of a military theme than this website is used to, I’ve picked this book to review to hopefully offer something of interest to those who like classic piston and propliners from the mid-20th century.
It is a glossy, quality publication of 184 pages which tackles the fraught period after the Second World War when Stalin’s Soviet Union held the peoples of Berlin to ransom.
Those living in the French, US and British parts of the city faced a road and rail blockade, meaning supplies could not be brought in to keep citizens alive and able to continue with daily life.
The only solution was to set up an air channel through designated corridors to ferry supplies in to the Western sectors of the city, avoiding the blockades, and also avoiding conflict with the Soviet Union.
The Berlin Airlift was the result, with many thousands of aircraft and flights operating to bring millions of tonnes of food and supplies into the city, eventually leading to Stalin lifting the blockade on the city.
Douglas C-47s at Berlin Tempelhof Airport during the Airlift
The Airlift was operated by aircraft of the various Western air forces, and invariably involved transport types like the Douglas C-47/DC-3, DC-4, Avro York, Handley Page Hastings, Haltons, Lancasters, Lockheed Constellations, Boeing Stratofreighters and more.
This book details the story of the Berlin Airlift in nine easy chapters, with references and further reading sections at the end.
It is image heavy, which makes it really appealing for lovers of these classic old piston aircraft. The author has found some incredible images which depict the Airlift in operation and shows the sheet scale of what was achieved.
As you read, the book takes you through the Berlin Airlift month-by-month, detailing how the operation developed, changed and ultimately succeeded, followed by the aftermath. A highly enjoyable read.
Turkish Airlines has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, which will now begin scheduled services on the airline’s network.
The aircraft is TC-LLA and was delivered from Seattle to Istanbul on June 26.
The Turkish national flag carrier had placed 25 firm orders plus 5 options last year for the 787-9 Dreamliner, which will be gradually added to its expanding fleet – the youngest in the world – between 2019 and 2023.
“Turkish Airlines’ growth has been remarkable in recent years, both in expanding flight options and supporting Turkey’s aviation industry. We are honored that Turkish Airlines is embarking on its next chapter of expansion with the 787 Dreamliner,” said Ihssane Mounir, Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing for The Boeing Company. “We are confident that the Dreamliner’s unmatched fuel efficiency, performance and passenger-pleasing comforts will contribute to the airline’s reputation as a five-star airline.”
Where to see the Turkish Airlines Dreamliners
The airline’s fleet will be based at the new Istanbul Airport.
Initially, the first aircraft will be assigned to shorter routes like Istanbul to Antalya and Amsterdam from 8 July and 26 July respectively, plus Izmir in October.
Further long-haul routes will be added, like Denpasar Bali, Washington Dulles and Atlanta.
According to our 787 Routes Page, here is the current list of Turkish Airlines 787 destinations and start dates:
Istanbul IST – AMS Amsterdam – Operates 26 July – 21 August 2019
Istanbul IST – AYT Antalya – Operates 8 July-30 September 2019
Istanbul IST – ATL Atlanta – Starts 10 September 2019
Istanbul IST – BOG Bogota – PTY Panama City – Starts 10 September 2019
Istanbul IST – BOS Boston – Starts 29 March 2020
Istanbul IST – CPT Cape Town – Starts 29 March 2020
Istanbul IST – DPS Denpasar Bali – Starts 17 July 2019
Istanbul IST – HAV Havana – CCS Caracas – Starts 29 March 2020
Istanbul IST – ADB Izmir – Starts 27 October 2019
Istanbul IST – JNB Johannesburg – DUR Durban – Starts 10 March 2020
Istanbul IST – JNB Johannesburg – MPM Maputo – Starts 11 March 2020
Istanbul IST – KUL Kuala Lumpur – Starts 12 May 2020
Istanbul IST – MEX Mexico City – CUN Cancun – Operates 21 August-26 October 2019
Istanbul IST – YUL Montreal – Starts 29 March 2020
Istanbul IST – JFK New York JFK – Starts 9 March 2020
Istanbul IST – IAD Washington Dulles – Starts 8 August 2019
Boeing is launching its latest round of flight-testing to assess new technologies that could address real-world challenges for airplane operators and passengers — from enhancing safety and sustainability to improving the flying experience.
To do this, the company has revealed its brand new ecoDemonstrator – this time a 777-200 aircraft (registration unknown).
It it is the latest in line, following previous ecoDemonstrator models, including a 737-800, 787-8 Dreamliner, 757-200, 777 Freighter, and Embraer 190.
“This is the latest addition to our ecoDemonstrator program, where we look at how crew and passengers can have a better experience and how technologies can make flying safer, more efficient and more enjoyable,” said Mike Sinnett, vice president of product strategy and future airplane development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Using the 777 flying test bed lets us learn faster and move forward on improvements much quicker and with greater fidelity in defining their value.”
More than a third of the technologies tested to date have transitioned to implementation at Boeing or by program partners. Nearly half remain in further development while testing on the other projects was discontinued after learnings were accomplished.
Flight tests will be conducted this fall. The flights will include a trip to Frankfurt Airport in Germany, where the ecoDemonstrator’s technology mission will be presented to government officials, industry representatives and STEM students to help inspire the next generation in aerospace leadership. A majority of the test flights will fly on sustainable aviation fuel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrate the fuel’s viability.
There’s been a lot of discussion online about the recent changes to Manchester Airport’s Runway Visitor Park (RVP).
As one of the best dedicated spotting locations in the UK, the foresight of Manchester Airport in providing such a facility was loved by enthusiasts as well as locals who wanted somewhere to take the kids and watch the planes.
Even though photography into sun wasn’t great and the car parking could be a bit expensive, it was still an all-round good place to go, with an aviation shop, toilets, cafe/restaurant, preserved airliners, and position right alongside the action.
However, since a new dedicated VIP terminal was announced by the airport, it quickly became apparent that its position was right where the two raised viewing platforms at the RVP were located.
So I thought I’d take a look and see whether the situation was as bad as many have made out.
The RVP Itself
Aside from the two raised mounds and part of the car park, nothing much has been lost at the Runway Visitor Park.
The shop, cafe/restaurant and preserved airliners are still there – including Concorde tours aboard the BA flagship G-BOAC.
I visited on a sunny Saturday, so the car park was quickly full. But there is an overflow car park that can be used.
The VIP Terminal Location
The new VIP terminal was almost structurally complete on my visit (June 2019).
It sits exactly where the two raised mounds once stood, and it surprised me just how small the building is. Presumably there will be separate road access cutting through part of the site once complete.
Spotting and Photography
The proximity of the VIP terminal means that you can no longer see the Terminal 1 pier and parts of Terminal 3 that were once visible from the RVP. There’s only the fleeting glimpse of a few tails at the terminal.
Also, the view of the approach and touchdown of runway 23R is now out of sight, so you can only see aircraft once they have already landed and are rolling out.
The original smaller viewing platform is still in place, but this is lower than the fenceline so it’s not great for photography. In fact, that is the major drawback now – unless you have a tall ladder or can position your lens in a gap in the fence, you won’t get any good unobstructed photographs any more.
A small extension is also under construction on this lower platform, which will take it out past the VIP terminal, allowing a slightly better view of the runway.
Having said that, spotting is not a problem. You will not miss a single movement from this location, no matter which runway is in use or which direction is used.
And, as you can see from the photographs, aircraft still pass very close to the RVP when taxiing past – almost close enough to touch!
The cost to park at the RVP is still in place, and can be a hindrance. But remember pedestrian and cycle access is free. You can also take the bus from the airport terminals to and from the RVP regularly, saving parking costs.
This is a great little aviation park, and still fun to visit, especially with the well-stocked aviation shop, preserved airliners (Trident 3B, Concorde, Avro RJX, Nimrod, DC-10), and activities for the kids.
The Runway Visitor Park is located at:
The Runway Visitor Park
Justplanes have released a new video in their Airport Action series, this time covering Seoul Incheon in South Korea.
It is the first time the company has covered Seoul and includes all the latest types, like Asiana Airlines’ Airbus A350, Korean Air’s Boeing 747-8, United 787 and Delta’s Airbus A350 among many others. In all, the video is 240 minutes long, and only $20 to purchase. That is great value!
Here’s a trailer video to give you a taste of what’s included.
Airport Action SEOUL INCHEON Plane Spotting - YouTube
Filming was done from some great locations that show the landings and takeoffs right in front of the camera as well as from a nice centerline location.
We’re pleased to bring you a new resource and reference guide to commercial aircraft.
Flying Firsts, by Martyn Cartledge, is a new go-to guide for anyone with an interest in the histories of airliner types, from older generations to the latest generation types like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A350, A320neo and A330neo, as well as recent types developed in China and Russia.
Listed in a month-by-month format, you’ll discover the important dates and aircraft types throughout the year.
The book includes hundreds of colour photographs to illustrate each type, and also lists important facts and statistics, as well as a history of the type, its development and introduction to service.
Martyn Cartledge is a seasoned aviation photographer and journalist. You may have seen his work in magazines like Airliner World and Airports of the World, as well as his own website.
His impressive airliner photography collection spanning 40 years is presented in this book as well as months of painstaking research into the histories of all the airliner types and variants to have graced our skies.
Here are some examples of the wonderful images in this glossy, quality book:
As well as his pictures, this is a detailed resource listing important dates, such as first flights and entry to service of all major airliners since the 1930s, including variants. Everything from the Douglas DC-1 to the very latest Airbus A350, Beluga XL and Comac C919!
The book also includes handy reference indexes, and space for you to mark details of your own first flights on each of the types.
How to Order
Flying Firsts – A Month-by-Month Guide to Commercial Aircraft Maiden Flights is out now through Destinworld Publishing and all good stockists, RRP £14.99.