Spotting at Taipei Taoyuan Airport
The airport is very busy, with an extensive mix of airlines from Asia, North America and Europe visiting regularly. It is also one of the world’s busiest cargo airports, and many cargo airlines pass through every day. In particular, it is a hub for China Airlines Cargo and EVA Air Cargo.
There are two parallel runways and two passenger terminals at Taoyuan. Terminal 1 has recently undergone an extensive renovation project. Terminal 3 is expected to open by 2014.
For the spotter, there are a few places that have good views. These include:
1. South Crash Gate
Where a rough taxiway links Taoyuan Airport with Taoyuan Air Base, a crash gate can be found in the fence alongside runway 06/24. You can drive, or walk if blocked, along the taxiway to the gate from the main road which runs between the airport and base. When heading away from the terminal, take the first left off the motorway and follow along. From here you’ll have a good vantage point of aircraft on the runway, and it’s possible to take good photographs. Other spotters congregate here.
2. “Miracle” Cafe
On the north side of the airfield is a cafe dubbed the “Miracle” Cafe due to the face it narrowly escaped damage when an Airbus A300 crashed alongside. It has views over the northern side of the airfield, and from its rooftop you can take acceptable photographs from afternoon till sunset. The cafe is situated on the main ’15’ road running along the northern perimeter.
3. Aviation Museum
You can see aircraft on the northern runway and taxiway from the Aviation Museum, although to photograph you’ll need steps as there’s too much in the way. Nevertheless, a good spot to note what’s coming and going.