Top 8 beach spotting locations

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Australasia, Australia, Caribbean, Cyprus, Eastern Europe, France, North America, Sint Maarten, Spain, Thailand, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 28-11-2014


Many of the most enjoyable spotting trips are when you can relax in the sun or take photos in a stunning locations. A lot of the world’s airports and runways back onto beaches, which turn out to be great spotting locations.

All of the locations listed here are accessible, public places.


1. Phuket, Thailand

By Andy Mitchell (Flickr: Transaero Airlines B747-300SR VP-BGW) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andy Mitchell (Flickr: Transaero Airlines B747-300SR VP-BGW) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Thailand’s holiday island is popular with many airlines arriving from near and far, including both domestic and long-haul airliners. Probably the best location to spot at the airport is Nai Yang Beach running along the western side of the airport, which is accessed by walking around 15 minutes from the road.

Any aircraft approaching runway 09 can be easily photographed, and by finding an area of high ground you can also see over the perimeter fence and photograph aircraft on the ground easily.


2. Sydney, Australia

By Advanstra (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Advanstra (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the best spots for photography and plane spotting at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport is The Beach off General Holmes Drive, at the east side of the airport.

You can spot here from both the car park and the beach itself, with aircraft using the runways in view, especially 16R/34L which passes very close to you and can lead to some spectacular photographs.


3. St. Maarten, Caribbean

Air France A340-300 landing at St Maarten. (c) Yasu To

Air France A340-300 landing at St Maarten. (c) Yasu To

Not much can be written about Maho Beach that hasn’t already been said. Some of the most stunning aviation photography in recent times has been of aircraft passing incredibly low over the heads of people on this beach, on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. This is especially fun since huge widebody airliners use the airport, and tend to land as early as possible, barely missing the perimeter fence.

The bar on the beach is known to list the arrivals due at the airport each day, meaning you can keep an eye on what’s due as you sip cocktails and soak up the sun.


4. Larnaca, Cyprus

Mackenzie Beach lies just off the northern perimeter of Larnaca Airport, with aircraft passing close by before landing or after takeoff. You can reach the beach off Piale Pasa, at the southern end of the city.


5. Lanzarote, Canary Islands

When aircraft are arriving on runway 03, the beach running around the southern portion of the airport is an ideal position to spot and photograph aircraft arriving at Lanzarote Arrecife Airport. Due to the position of the sun, this location is best in the morning for photography, and a fence can obstruct some shots of aircraft on the ground. But if you’re just watching the action it is perfect.

The location is reached along Avenida Playa Honda.


6. Boston Logan, MA

By James Wang from Boston, Mass, USA (British Airways 747 (Oneworld livery)) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By James Wang from Boston, Mass, USA (British Airways 747 (Oneworld livery)) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are actually two beaches at Boston Logan Airport which are good for spotting.

Constitution Beach is best for aircraft using runways 22L and 22R, and the taxiways associated with these runways. You can get some good action shots of aircraft arriving and departing. Better in the afternoon and evening for photography. This beach is close to Saratoga Street.

Meanwhile, Yirrel Beach at Coughlin Park is great for aircraft approaching runway 27, and to a lesser degree departing runway 09. This location is good all day for photography. The park and beach are off Shirley Street, with parking nearby.


7. Nice, France

Not the best beach for aircraft photography, however the very popular area running the length of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice offers quite interesting views of aircraft departing from the nearby airport. Aircraft need to make an immediate turn to the right following departure, following the sweep of the bay. There are few main airports situated this close to the city they serve.


8. New York JFK


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge off Cross Bay Blvd is a well known spotting location at New York JFK, alongside Howard Beach, which is good for getting distant after-takeoff shots of heavy airliners as they make a turn.


Do you know of any good beach spotting locations? Leave a tip in the comments section below!

5 Lost European Airports Today

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Germany, Miscellaneous Spotting, Norway, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 25-01-2013


Nicosia Airport

I’m always fascinated by reminders of the past, and by knowing the former purpose of a historic site. Over the years many airports have been superseded by newer sites and closed down, and naturally many are redeveloped and lost for good.

But it’s surprising how many little hints of these airports you can still see if you look hard enough. Here are five lost European airports today:


Croydon Airport
Formerly the main airport for London, UK. Croydon is a town to the south of the city, and in the early days of air travel it became a busy hub for some of the classic airlines and their early aircraft. But space became a problem, and pretty soon the new London Airport (what we know today as Heathrow) was opened. With other London airports also at Blackbushe, Gatwick and Northolt, Croydon closed in 1959.

Today, the original art deco terminal building and control tower survive in the middle of an urban landscape. Outside, a preserved DH Heron aircraft is a reminder of its former purpose.


Oslo Fornebu Airport Site

Oslo Fornebu
Formerly the main gateway to Norway’s capital, Oslo. Fornebu was located much closer to the city than the current Gardemoen airport which replaced it in 1998. Fornebu was built on an area of land surrounded by water. It had two runways and a single terminal with three satellites. Due to constraints in expansion, it was decided to close Fornebu. Today the site has been redeveloped, but there are a couple of buildings remaining from the old airport.

Munich Riem
The main airport at Munich, Germany, was opened near the village of Riem in 1939. It had one main runway and a shorter runway for smaller aircraft; its single passenger terminal had been extended to cope with growth. Riem was also the location of the famous Munich Air Disaster in 1958 which claimed the lives of a number of Manchester United’s players when their Airspeed Ambassador crashed on takeoff.

In 1992, Riem was replaced by the much larger new Munich Airport, which has grown to become Germany’s second largest. The old airport was gradually transformed into a Convention City Riem development. Today, the control tower, original terminal building, and a small section of runway are all that remain.

Berlin Tempelhof
Another example in Germany, Tempelhof is the most recent airport in our list to have closed, with its final flights on 30 October 2008. It is also one of Europe’s most significant airports, with its unique Nazi-era design, and the part it played in the Berlin Airlift.

The airport still exists pretty much intact, with its huge terminal and hangars building which allowed aircraft to park under cover. The runways have been turned into public spaces which you’re able to walk along. There are also a few aircraft still present on the site, used in various memorials and training roles.

Derelict Trident at Nicosia

The capital of Cyprus had the island’s main international airport, handling flights from all over Europe and the Middle East, until its dramatic closure in July 1974. Following years of tension between Turkey and Greece, Turkish troops invaded the island and focussed on the airport as one of its targets, bombing it heavily. A number of aircraft were caught on the ground, including Cyprus Airways’ fleet of Tridents. One was destroyed, another later repaired and flown to the UK, and another is still on the ground today.

Nicosia is a fascinating ghost of an airport trapped in time. Today it sits in the UN exclusion zone which divides the island. Its runway, hangars and terminal building still standing – with slowly decaying interiors – as a testament to the past.


Ryanair launching Paphos base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Cyprus, Eastern Europe | Posted on 11-01-2012


Ryanair has announced its 50th base will be at Paphos in Cyprus.

I didn’t see that one coming, but the airport has lost a lot of routes from Cyprus Airways recently, so it probably makes sense.

The airline will base 2 Boeing 737-800s at Paphos from April, and routes will include:

Paphos – Chania
Paphos – Frankfurt Hahn
Paphos – Kaunas
Paphos – Krakow
Paphos – London
Paphos – Memmingen
Paphos – Milan
Paphos – Oslo
Paphos – Patras
Paphos – Pisa
Paphos – Rome
Paphos – Stockholm
Paphos – Thessaloniki
Paphos – Venice Treviso