Spotting at Southend Airport

Southend Airport is a great place to catch up with airliners that are in transition from one airline to another due to the maintenance and painting work that is regularly carried out there on behalf of a number of leasing companies and airlines.

The airport is only 40 miles from central London, and has tried to bill itself as London Southend in order to attract new airline services. At the moment, only seasonal flights are operated to Jersey with Flybe Q400’s.

There are a number of smaller cargo operators passing through the airport on a daily basic.

For the spotter, Southend has many nooks and crannies to explore and you’ll often find aircraft hidden in different places. Most prominent will be those parked around the terminal, and outside the spray hangars. These are the easiest to spot, simply by following signs to the airport terminal and entering the car park to the side.

After this, if you follow signs to the Southend Flying Club, it will bring you to another vantage point with views of other aircraft parked outside the hangars or on the main apron.

Next, it’s wise to head to the opposite side of the airfield, where many other aircraft are stored or receiving maintenance. In recent years, there have always been a large number of BAe 146 and Avro RJ airliners here at any time, with other HS.748 and BAe ATP aircraft to compliment them. Sadly the number of aircraft in residence here – particularly the more exciting Boeing 707s, 727s and 737s have all but gone now.

To reach the opposite side, drive back to the airport entrance and turn right onto Eastwoodbury Lane. Follow this past the runway end, and turn right along Aviation Way (next to the church). If you follow this road, you will eventually come to a dead end, but on your right you will see many vantage points to quickly log and photograph aircraft on the various ramps. Don’t loiter too long as it may cause suspicion.

Here are some recent photos from Southend:

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6 Responses

  1. Shelley says:

    Hi I’m trying to find out information about frate plane companies that where oportating from Southend airport in the late 1960 and 1970s.
    Would there be an archive for this information? I’m looking to find out details on a Ralph Hughes who operated the frate Service .

  2. Matt Falcus says:

    Hi Shelley. There might be some information out there on the internet. I found this website which might be useful

  3. thomas says:

    is this airport in the green zone where you pay in centeral london have been wondering about this for a bit now cant seem to find any info out

  4. Kim says:

    Is in Essex away from london

  5. Frank says:

    Hi Shelley

    I believe Freddie Laker used to have operations from Southend. Lakes converted surplus Douglas DC-4 aircraft into Aviation Traders Ltd (AtL was Lakers company) ATL-98 Carvairs for flying cars across the channel – very distinctive planes

    Later airlines were British United Airlines (BUA) and British Air Ferries (BAF)

  6. Vince Bobin says:

    I can confirm that Freddie Laker did fly from Southend Airport. His planes were quite distinctive when loading/unloading cars. The cars used to enter/leave the plane through the front end which hinged open. I also remember that there was for a few years a sea flying boat (Catalina ? Hughie Green being the owner ?) also parked at the airport. I’m going back in memory to when I was a youngster so we must be talking of about 50 or so years ago!

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