Birmingham is one of the UK’s main airports and has been growing in recent years, adding long-haul destinations as well as a good selection of low-cost and leisure airlines who base aircraft there.
The airport also sees a good number of cargo operations daily, which tend to use the old airport site opposite the passenger terminal.
For enthusiasts Birmingham is quite popular with a good mix of airlines, spotting locations and also the chance to catch some interesting crosswind approaches in windy weather (owing to the direction of the runway).
Birmingham today has a single runway, 15/33, with the main passenger terminal on the eastern side, and the old airport site (now used for cargo, maintenance and executive aircraft) on the western side. The huge NEC conference centre is next to the airport, with its own railway station.
Main Airlines at Birmingham
Air India, easyJet, Emirates, FedEx Express, Flybe, Jet2, KLM, Lufthansa, Pakistan International, Qatar Airways, Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines, TUI Airways, Wizz Air
Here’s a guide on where to spot at Birmingham Airport
1 Long Stay Car Park
The airport provides an official viewing area in the Long Stay Car Park alongside the runway 33 threshold and taxiway. There are benches and a good view of aircraft movements through the fence, and shortly before touchdown. Follow signs from the terminal.
2 Runway 15
At the northern end of the airport this spot is good for approach and crosswind photographs. A path here runs across the approach path. It is best accessed from Hazeldene Road (postcode B33 0QB), off The Radleys. If you’re heading from Birmingham city centre, follow the A45 and then turn left onto Sheaf Lane in Sheldon. This turns into Church Road. After a mile turn right onto The Radleys, and right again opposite the car garage. Alternatively, take the train to Marston Green station (one stop from the airport/NEC) and walk along the path to the viewing area.
3 Elmdon Multi-Storey Car Park
Over on the old airport site at Elmdon, there’s a multi-storey car park which gives views over the Elmdon ramp and the runway. You can take pictures of aircraft using the runway – with the light good in the afternoon. Unfortunately the top floor of the car park is now out of bounds, so you need to make do with lower levels.
Birmingham Spotting Hotel
Travelodge Birmingham Airport
Terminal Road, Birmingham B26 3QW | +44 871 984 6483 | www.travelodge.co.uk
Located on the old terminal side of the airport, rooms facing the airport on the top two floors have great views across the runway and to the passenger terminal. You can’t see the executive and cargo ramp, but will see all movements. This is now the only acceptable place to spot around the old terminal building, as security will move you on if they see you loitering outside.
Birmingham Airport Aviation – https://www.bhxspotter.com/movements/
BHX Daily Movements – http://bhxmovements.blogspot.com/
Birmingham Airport Website – https://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/
Diversions Descend on Elmdon – Historic Birmingham Airport Gallery – https://www.airportspotting.com/diversions-descend-birmingham-elmdon/
Gusty Crosswinds at Birmingham Airport video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kYSu5umQj8
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