This series of articles looks at the individual spotting locations at Frankfurt International – one of Europe’s busiest, largest, and most interesting airports.
Frankfurt is one of a number of big European airports (and many in Germany) which offer official places for spotters and enthusiasts to watch and photograph aircraft on the ground and using the runways.
The spotting locations at Frankfurt that we’ll look at are:
- Terminal 2 Terrace
- Motorway / Zeppelinheim / Berlin Airlift Memorial
- Runway 18
- Runway 07L/25R New Runway
Runway 18 Viewing Platform Spotting Location
In this article, we’ll look at the location alongside runway 18, which offers elevated views which are great for photography.
The spot has some limited car parking, and general views across the western side of the airfield.
There is no shelter here, so be prepared for the weather. There are no toilet or refreshment facilities.
What Can You See?
Runway 18 is used only for departures. This viewing platform is good for photographing departures on Runway 18, and also aircraft on short finals for Runways 07C/R.
Some aircraft on the taxiways and cargo ramps can be logged from here.
Sadly movements on the new northerly runway 07L/25R are mostly too distant to see, and the terminals are a long way away.
However, since a good proportion of aircraft depart using runway 18, you’ll see a lot of aircraft eventually.
Photographing aircraft departing runway 18 is easy, with elevated sections of the platform lifting you over the fence.
You’ll need a 200mm+ lens to cover all aircraft on the runway, or approaching runways 07C and 07R, or a longer lens for anything on the taxiways.
Aircraft elsewhere on the airfield are too far away to photograph.
With flight tracking apps, you’ll be able to identify aircraft elsewhere on the airfield, or on other runways, which are too distant even for the best binoculars.
To reach this location, drive west along Airportring (follow signs initially for Lufthansa Cargo). The road will eventually turn south and you’ll come to a car park on your right before the road goes through a tunnel.
It takes an hour to walk here from the terminals, or you could take a taxi. On my visit I organised an Uber from Terminal 1.
What You’ll See at Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt is a major hub airport in central Europe.
It is the main operating base for Lufthansa, plus its regional and cargo partners.
You’ll also find other German carriers in abundance, like Condor and TUIfly Deutschland.
As you would expect, Frankfurt is well linked by most European scheduled carriers, as well as major airlines from Asia, Africa, North and South America, and the Middle East.
Cargo airlines are quite prevalent at night, and there are a number of biz jet movements most days.
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Nice article as always but I would like to correct you on one point: “Cargo airlines are quite prevalent at night”
This is not correct as there is an absolute night-flight ban at Frankfurt Airport from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Cargo airlines do find FRA during the day but at night they often opt for Cologne-Bonn or Leipzig-Halle.
Thanks for the correction Anton! Much appreciated.
The parking at this platform has been closed due to construction nearby.
Parking at this spot has been closed due to road/underpass construction nearby.
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