Spencer Bennett provides this report and pictures on spotting at Cologne Bonn Airport.
Cologne Bonn Airport ( IATA code CGN, ICAO EDDK ) is the international airport of Germany’s fourth largest city Cologne and also serves the nearby city of Bonn, capital of the former West Germany.
The airport’s full name is Koln Bonn Konrad Adenauer named after the first post war Chancellor of West Germany.
Cologne Bonn Airport is the seventh largest passenger airport in Germany handling around 12.5 million passengers per year. It is a major cargo airport and currently third busiest in Germany behind only Frankfurt and Leipzig.
The airport is located in the district of Porz around 9 miles south east of the city centre and is surrounded by the Wahner Heide nature reserve. Having the nature reserve on the outskirts of the airport is beneficial to the airport and the many resident freight forwarders, as this allows the airport to offer night time departure and arrival slots to airlines which are not possible at many other airports in Germany.
Getting to Cologne Bonn Airport
From either the cities of Cologne or Bonn, there are direct train links to the airport which arrive at the new Inter City Express railway station directly in the centre of the airport.
For visitors arriving by car, car parking is expensive with Car Park 2 and 3 offering the cheapest hourly rate at EUR 3.00 per hour so may be better to park your car near one of the rail stations one or two stops out and get the train into the airport
Cologne Bonn Airport Spotting Terrace
Similar to many other airports in Germany, Cologne Bonn airport offers an excellent viewing terrace for enthusiasts and the general public.
The terrace is located in Terminal 1 via a staircase located inside the terminal building. Unusually there is no charge or security checks although the terrace is monitored by security personnel. There is a lift situated by staircase 4 for any visitors with limited mobility.
The terrace is open from 5am till 10pm all year round. There are no outlets selling food or drink on the terrace but several options available just a short walk down the stairs into the terminal building. Toilet facilities are available on the terrace and also an arrivals / departures screen.
Once at the top of the staircase, the visitor will find that the terrace is split over 3 levels, all with essentially the same view. The first level has the largest area and offers the most seating area’s. The view is excellent but behind glass so difficult for photography.
However the staircase goes up a further two levels to higher vantage points which do not have the glass screen’s and offer an unobstructed view across the airport.
The terrace looks out directly over the cargo ramp and some stands on Terminal 1 and 2. Cologne Bonn has 3 runways all of which can be seen from the terrace although the best view by far is of runway 14L / 32R which is just to the west of the terrace and is the main used runway . Runway 14R /32L can be seen to the east although aircraft approaching will pass behind the terminal building before they land. Runway 25/07 can be seen behind the cargo terminal but views of this runway are a little distant. Runways 14R/32L and 06/24 are used rarely – usually only when runway 14L/32R is having maintenance or where winds are strong in east / west direction.
The aircraft spotter will find that all movements can be seen regardless of which runway is in use.
Runway 14L /32R is the preferred runway at most times as this is the longest runway and able to handle any size aircraft of any size. When runway 14L is in use landing aircraft will pass directly in front of the terrace just before they touch down offering the chance for some excellent photographs. Departing aircraft will taxi directly in front of the terrace before they line up on the runway.
All aircraft parked to the west of the cargo terminal can be seen although there are some stands to the rear and east sides that are out of view.
All passenger movements will pass directly in front of the terrace as they taxi to and from Terminal One or Two. To photograph an Airbus 320 / Boeing 737 size aircraft landing on Runway 14L , a 250-300mm size lens is required whereas to capture image of the same size aircraft taxying only a 200mm size lens is required.
What to See at Cologne Bonn Airport
Passenger movements at Cologne are dominated by Eurowings who currently offer both scheduled and seasonal charter flights across Europe.
Ryanair has a large presence at Cologne too offering flights to over 25 destinations.
Eurowings’ decision to concentrate long haul services from Dusseldorf leaves the airport with no long haul passenger flights although there are links to the Middle East with flights operated by Iran Air to Tehran. Turkey is a popular destination with flights operated by AnadoluJet, Pegasus, Turkish Airlines, Sun Express, Onur Air and Corendon Airlines amongst others.
Aeroflot’s low cost subsidiary Pobeda operates links to Moscow and Saint Petersburg and Georgian Airlines offers services to and from Tblisi.
Cargo plays a major role in the success of the airport and this offers additional interest for the enthusiast.
UPS has a major hub here and operates services to around 50 destinations with its varied fleet of aircraft including the latest variant of the Boeing 747, the 747-800F.
Other cargo operators that can be see include Star Air, DHL, Fedex, MNG Airlines and Atran. Egyptair Cargo flies to and from Cairo. A lot of the cargo activity takes place at night although Sunday afternoon and evening can be a busy time also.
To the west of the airport is the military ramp where several Luftwaffe and German Governmental Aircraft are based.
A visit to Cologne offers an interesting mix of traffic and the terrace gives the opportunity to see all the movements and obtain some excellent photographs .
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