Hong Kong’s current airport is to the west of the city, built on reclaimed land to replace the famous Kai Tak airport in 1998. The new airport is much more spacious and modern and has two runways and a large central terminal complex. This will be added to with an additional terminal and runway in the coming years.
To complement the terminal, which is on the eastern side of the airport, there are sizeable maintenance areas to the west, and cargo apron located on the southern side of the airport. A centre for business jet is also on the southern side.
Hong Kong is always busy and a pleasure to spot at, with an official spotting location and good spotting hotels. Traffic is dominated by Cathay Pacific and Asian carriers, operating mainly wide-body airliners.
The airport is the world’s busiest for cargo, with freighters taking up a good portion of movements.
This guide to plane spotting in Hong Kong should hopefully give you some useful tips on making the most of your visit.
Main Airlines at Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific
- Cathay Dragon
- China Airlines
- FedEx Express
- Hong Kong Airlines
- Hong Kong Express
- Singapore Airlines
Hong Kong Spotting Locations
1. Sky Deck
This official location is on top of Terminal 2 is the Sky Deck. It is accessed via the Aviation Discovery Centre, and you require a ticket to enter (bought from the cinema entrance, priced HKD15). This is a good location for an overall view of movements, and you won’t really miss anything going on at the airport. It is good for photographing arrivals on runway 25R until late afternoon, although aircraft on the ground can be too distant. The deck is open weekdays from 11am-10pm, and weekends from 9.30am-10pm. There are no facilities on the deck, but you can head back downstairs for refreshment and toilet facilities.
** Note, the Skydeck is currently closed
2. Alternative 25R
An alternative location to the Sky Deck for runway 25R arrivals is the corner of Cheong Yip Rd and Cheong Wing Rd, which is still close enough to the terminal to be convenient, but free to use and not restricted by opening times. It is great for photographs of arriving aircraft. To reach it, leave the terminal and walk north past the taxi rank. Be careful as there is a security post nearby.
3. Maintenance Areas
At the extreme western side of the airport, there are a number locations near the maintenance hangars which are great for watching and photographing arrivals and departures. You can also log aircraft parked in this area. It is a long walk from the terminals, so take a car or the S52 bus (destination Aircraft Maintenance Area) from Tung Chung. The S1 bus runs from the terminal to Tung Chung. Look out for a preserved Douglas DC-3 which you will pass on the bus.
(Pictures on this page (c) Erik Ritterbach)
Marriott Skycity Hotel
1 SkyCity Road East, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau Hong Kong | +852 3969 1888 | www.marriott.com
Another option for plane spotting in Hong Kong is the Marriott Skycity Hotel. Rooms in this hotel offer fantastic views, and it’s only a short walk from the terminal and the Skydeck viewing area. Even numbered rooms high up offer views of short finals to runway 07R, and some views of the cargo ramp. Flight tracking software will be needed at night.
Airport Spotting Guides Asia & The Far East has been put together to guide you through your spotting trips to the countries around Asia.
It covers hundreds of airports in countries like China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and many more.
With each you’ll find detailed descriptions of what you’ll see and the best places to spot and photograph aircraft from. It also includes tips on the best spotting hotels and aviation museums to explore.