Leipzig has grown into one of Germany (and Europe’s) largest cargo airports. It is the main hub on the continent for DHL Airways and their various subsidiaries and partners, allowing them a central location to receive, process and send on packages from around the world.
Aside from cargo, Leipzig is a moderately busy airport for passenger services, with around 2.3 million passengers passing through each year on domestic, intra-European, and holiday flights.
But naturally the vast majority of movements are those affiliated with DHL, and cargo carriers such as Bluebird, Swiftair, Kalitta, Europe Air Post, Air Atlantique, ABX, RAF Avia, Aerologic, Aviastar etc. This sees a lot of A300, B737, B757, and B777 types, but most interestingly also a lot of AN-12, AN-26 and TU-204 aircraft operating from countries to the east.
Cargo movements are largely between 10pm and 2am, but some operate during the day and it’s often possible to see many aircraft parked up during the day.
The best place to spot at Leipzig is the viewing terrace atop the Administration Building next to the terminal. The outdoor terrace is open 24 hours a day, making it ideal for catching those nighttime movements (if a little chilly in winter!). It costs €2.
You can also get good views from the top of the car park.
If you want to watch the cargo movements from the comfort of your warm hotel room (with SBS or Flightradar24), try the Globana Airport Hotel. It has rooms facing the airport, but some have restricted views.
Whilst in Leipzig, remember to look out for the former Interflug IL-18 and TU-134 aircraft at the airport, which are easily seen from the viewing deck. There’s also an IL-62 in the city used as a cafe, and an IL-18 at one of the city’s museums.
You can download a handy DHL flight timetable from this link.
Credit goes to Mark Allday for the information in this article.