Home Airport Spotting Guide Guide to Plane Spotting at Prague Airport

Guide to Plane Spotting at Prague Airport

by Matt Falcus

Spencer Bennett has provided this guide to spotting at Prague Vaclav Havel Airport. All pictures his own unless stated.

 

About Prague Airport

Prague Vaclav Havel Airport is the main gateway into the Czech Republic and its capital city Prague.

The Airport was previously known as Prague Ruzyne, but was renamed Prague Vaclav Havel Airport in October 2012 after the country’s first post-Velvet Revolution president. It is situated around 17 kilometres to the west of the beautiful city of Prague.

In 2019 the airport handled around 18 million passengers.

The airport is the home base for Czech Airlines as well as Travel Service and its subsidiary airline Smart Wings.  Low cost operators Wizz Air and Ryanair also have aircraft based.

 

Viewing Terraces

Prague is an exceptionally enthusiast friendly airport and offers two viewing terraces, one located in each terminal. Both look out onto the same area of the airport giving a view of the apron between Piers B and C from both terminals and also the predominant runway and taxiway.

Prague Terminal 1 viewing terrace.

The terrace in Terminal 1, which handles non EU / Schengen flights, is reached by taking a staircase up to a café and the terrace is an extension of the café with seating outside.  This terrace looks directly over the stands used by some of the long haul flights into Prague and give visitors a close up view of these wide bodied airliners.

Terrace in Terminal 2 at Prague.

The terrace in Terminal 2 is situated upstairs and a short walk from the departure hall close to where terminal 2 adjoins Terminal 1.

The Terminal 2 terrace is probably the better bet for the enthusiast as it gives a better view of aircraft parked on piers B and C plus the movements on the runway and taxiway.

For the spotter, all movements will be seen at some point providing aircraft are using the main runway 13/31 (in either direction) as although both terraces give views of selected parking stands only, all aircraft will taxi past either on arrival or departure.

Example shot of aircraft taxying to or from runway taken from the terrace at Terminal 2.

Example shots of aircraft taking off from the Terminal 2 terrace. Glass makes longer distance shots tricky but with care can be possible.

The cargo and business jet terminals cannot be viewed from either terrace but aircraft will been seen at some point either arriving or departing.

The photographer should fare well too. Although both terraces are behind glass, with care excellent shots of aircraft taxiing and parking can be obtained with focal lens of between 50-200mm.  Photographs of aircraft departing or arriving are possible but require extra care and focal lens of 300mm at least.

Photographs are best in the morning to mid-afternoon when the sun is directly behind you.

 

Facilities

Both terraces are situated outside with seating areas and whilst there are no facilities directly on either terrace, both have all you could need just a short walk back inside terminal including arrivals and departure boards, bars, restaurants, toilets and even a small supermarket downstairs from the Terminal 2 terrace.

The airport has thoughtfully put some information boards up to help visitors identity the different aircraft types that you’ll see.

 

What You’ll See

Prague offers an interesting mix of visitors for the enthusiast. Most major European carriers can be seen and also several low cost carriers too.

Links to former Eastern Bloc countries bring some unusual visitors to Prague with regular flights operated by S7, Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, Georgian Airlines, Air Ukraine, Belavia , Rossiya and Azerbaijan Airlines.

Long haul flights tend to park on the Terminal 1 pier but mostly on the side visible from the terrace at Terminal 2.

Long haul flights are operated by Delta Airlines to New York, seasonal flights to Canada by Air Canada Rouge and Air Transat. South Korea is well represented by both Korean Air and Czech Airlines flights to Seoul, whilst China is served by Sichuan Airlines. Bamboo Airways have postponed their new service to Hanoi till October 2020.

Emirates has a daily link to Dubai and competes directly with FlyDubai who have a daily 737-800 service.

Cargo services are operated by Turkish Cargo and Qatar Cargo amongst others.

 

Alternative Prague Spotting Locations

Photo (c) Prague Vaclav Havel Airport

The airport has also provided some alternative viewing areas off-airport by constructing two raised viewing platforms giving closer views of the runway, although neither can be reached by foot from the terminal and require public transport or a car to reach.

The first spot was opened in 2012 close to the town of Hostivice and overlooks the intersection of runways 12/30 and 06/24.  It is only possible to be reached on foot or bike and is around 4km from Hostivice.

The second spot is near the village of Knezeves.  Look for a restaurant called V Mastali and follow a gravel path adjacent to a road called Na Stare Silinci Street.  Bus number 319 runs from the Airport Terminal to the town of Knezeves.

Photo (c) Prague Vaclav Havel Airport

The airport has also cut holes in the perimeter fence to help photographers in popular spots.

Prague Airport Bus Tours. Photo (c) Prague Vaclav Havel Airport

Also, bus tours of the airport (including the apron areas) are offered by the airport which need to be booked in advance via the airport website

 

Prague Spotting Hotel – Courtyard by Marriott

View from Courtyard by Marriott Prague spotting hotel.

The Courtyard by Marriott hotel is situated directly adjacent to the airport terminal. Rooms face either to the east or west of the airport but can offer some good views. In the centre of the hotel separating the rooms on east and west side is a large atrium with glass front looking directly over the airport.

The Emirates A380 and  general view of airport were taken from the atrium on the top floor.

The Global Jet A319CJ was taken from hotel room looking to the east of the airport.

 

 

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1 comment

MERVYN CROWE August 9, 2020 - 7:47 am

In July 2009, spent a few hours in the terminal prior to boarding our easyjet flight to STN .Above a check in counter is AERO 145 OK-KGF, suspended by strong wires, so when checking in, I did make sure I kept an eye on it! There is also a small aircraft museum and photos in the departure area, certainly worth a visit. Friendly staff all round.

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