Martyn Cartledge gives an overview of the Spanish resort airport of Ibiza and the spotting locations to use.
Aeropuerto de Ibiza or Aeroport d’Eivissa if you prefer the Catalan spelling (IATA: IBZ, ICAO: LEIB) is situated just 5 miles (7.5km) from the capital and, although in the far southwest of the island, it doesn’t take long to reach any of the most important tourist centres. The airport also serves the nearby island of Formentera and is the primary port of entry to Ibiza, being used by 95% of people arriving or departing.
Pre-COVID the airport had around 50 airlines operating to around 90 destinations, however it is also home to the SAMU Bell 412EP Air Ambulance and Trabajos Aéreos Martinez Ridao Air Tractor AT-802 equipped for firefighting, and also has a good deal of biz jet traffic, having 33 dedicated stands opposite the original terminal building with its white archway entrances to the ramp.
Getting to and from the airport is easy and cheap. Alongside the normal car hire and taxi services there are a number of bus routes serving the main tourist centres with a fare of no more than €4. These services depart from just outside the terminal and are well signposted from inside.
Ibiza Airport Spotting Locations
Viewing at the airport is quite easy with a seating area on the first floor overlooking the runway and the western entrance to the apron, meaning all aircraft will pass by at least once when departing or arriving.
Photography can be difficult as you are, of course, shooting through glass and, given the temperature the aircraft are often subject to heat haze.
As alternatives there are a number of spots around the airfield which either require a fairly long walk in the hot sun or a vehicle (or both!).
Once outside the terminal if you turn right and walk past the fuel farm to the eastern end of the airfield you will find a track off to the right which leads to the edge of the airfield and apron area. This will give you a view of the biz jet ramp in particular, but also of the taxiway leading to the 24 runway line up point.
Further to the east, right in the centre of Ibiza town, aircraft inbound to runway 24 can be seen, meaning you can soak up the sun and the local offerings whilst watching arrivals. A particularly good place I found was in the castle area overlooking the town and harbour (you may even get the odd helicopter aboard the mega yachts that moor there), so great views all around!
At the western end, the runway is just short of the coast area around Point de Baix making it is ideal for 06 arrivals. This can be accessed from the PM-802 Carratera (Ctra.) de Las Salinas road heading south at the roundabout off the main E-20 Cicunvalacion de Eivissa from the airport. Earlier on the PM-802 just after the DC10 nightclub there is a turning to the right which leads to a track running parallel to the runway. Bear in mind there is no shade and no facilities here, so be prepared for the sun!
As is the case with most holiday airports arrivals have a tendency to come from certain countries on certain days of the week, so choosing the best day can be important.
Ibiza is certainly a good place for the biz jet enthusiast as this airport has more than its fair share of this type of traffic. This makes up for the fact that it is no different in many ways to many other Mediterranean airports since the commercial traffic it attracts is mainly a good selection of northern Europe’s charter and low-cost carriers, mingling with Vueling, Air Nostrum and Swift Air, which day-stops one of its Embraer Brasilia aircraft.
If you find yourself heading over to this party island then a few hours, on the right day, will be time well spent.
All photographs (c) Martyn Cartledge.