Hong Kong Airport

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Continent: Asia Country: China
Hong Kong
Chek Lap Kok International Airport
Location Hong Kong, China
Airport type Commercial
Website http://www.hkairport.com
Overview map [ ]
Tower 118.20 (North RWY), 118.40 (South RWY)
Ground 121.60, 122.55
Clearance 129.90
Approach 119.10 (Approach), 119.50 (Approach Director)
ATIS 128.20
Plane Spotting Hotels guide

Official Spotting Location

Point 1. Skydeck above Terminal 2

This is deemed the 'official' spotting point at HKIA. It is located just about a few hundred meters south of the RWY 25R landing path, and the deck itself is on top of a building which is about 30 - 40 meters high. Planes landing on both RWY 25R and RWY 25L can be viewed from here, as can some apron movements. There is no fence or glass in front of you and it is just simply a 'building roof' overlooking the airport. Note that the viewing area has no roof-top and also no facilities; for instance toilet, food kiosk or vending machine. Visitors need to go downstairs back to Terminal 2 for drinks, snacks, toilet, etc.

Access and Transport

Start in HKIA terminal 2. With your back facing the drop off area, there is an escalator on the far left end (near check-in aisle N). Take the escalator up 1 level to the 6th floor. You will see the entrance of Aviation Discovery Centre with some artificial runway painting on the wall, etc. Tickets to the skydeck are sold at the counter, ask the ticketing staff for further directions to skydeck.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday: 1045 (approx.) - 2145 local time Saturday / Sunday / public holiday: 1000 (approx.) - 2145 local time

Not open when thunderstorm warning is up.

Entrance fee: HKD 15.00 (ticket to be bought at entrance of the Aviation Discovery Centre on the upper level of Terminal 2)

Photo opportunity during RWY 25 direction

Planes landing on RWY 25R (majority of the landing movements):

Always high (around 100mm lens for a B777-200 whole body). However, it is only good during morning especially summer time as that would be backlit staring from 2pm onwards. Sample pics for RWY 25R landing viewing from skydeck:

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large

Planes landing on RWY 25L (some private jets / cargo movements):

As the viewing deck is situated between RWY 25R and 25L landing paths, planes approaching RWY 25L can also be photographed. You would need a longer lens for that( around 200mm for a B777-200 whole body and more for private jets). However, it is only good during afternoon especially in summer time. Sample pics for RWY 25L landing viewing from skydeck:

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large

Planes lining up near RWY 25L (all of the take-off movements):

Difficult, as that is distinct from view and with many ground obstructions.

Planes lining up near RWY 25R (During RWY 25L is closed for overnight maintenance):

Possible. But RWY 25L maintenance closure would be finished by approx. 0830 local time, which is before the opening time of the skydeck.

Photo opportunity during RWY 07 direction

Planes rotating from RWY 07R (all of the take-off movements):

Possible. But limited to those long-haul heavies and planes with high loading.

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large

Planes rotating from RWY 07L (During RWY 07R is closed for overnight maintenance):

Possible, but limited to those long-haul heavies and planes with high loading. RWY 07L maintenance closure would be finished by approx. 0830 local time, which is before the opening time of the skydeck.

Point 2. Airport Maintanence Area

This is not only a spotting point, in fact many local photographers gather here in weekends for relaxing also taking landscape / portrait pictures. Especially in a weekend afternoon during summer, many locals come to this area with their family cars parked along the road and enjoying themselves under summer sun.

It is actually located in the west end of the airport island, between north and south runway (07L and 07R). In here, you can view landing aircraft on both north and south runway if 07 direction is in use. You can also have some good photo opportunities for runway 25L takeoff if 25 direction is in use.

Access and Transport

Local bus service: Start at Tung Chung MTR Station. There is a bus service, S52, running between the bus terminus near Tung Chung MTR Station and Airport Maintenance Area. Service frequency is around 20 mins. Once you arrive at the terminus point in Airport Maintenance Area (beside HAECO building), you should know where to go by your sense. Bus service runs from early morning till dark.

Taxi: From airport terminal or Tung Chung MTR Station to Airport Maintenance Area, around HKD 50 - 60 per trip. That should work if you tell the driver you want to go HAECO or Airport Maintenance Area. Of course, showing the place on a map is always helpful. However, that is a problem for any return journey from Airport Maintenance Area by taxi as there will not be any waiting taxi there. Come back by bus is always the choice then.

Opening Hours

24 hrs a day, 7 days a week!

It is not recommended to go there during thunderstorm, but highly recommended in a sunny weekend afternoon with some mild sea breeze.

Entrance fee: Always, free

Photo opportunity during RWY 25 direction

Planes taking off from RWY 25L (majority of the takeoff movements):

High (around 100mm lens for a MD-11F whole body). However, it is only good during afternoon time as that would be backlit in morning. Also it is only possible to spot heavies and planes with high loadings which rotate late. Sample pics for RWY 25L taking off:

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large
  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large
  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large

Photo opportunity during RWY 07 direction

Planes approaching on RWY 07R (some of the cargo and biz movements):

Possible (around 100mm lens for a 777F whole body). But you have to pick a right spot for taking pictures, otherwise the angle would be too narrow. Only good during the afternoon.

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large

Planes approaching on RWY 07L (majority of the landing movements):

High (around 250mm lens for a 777-300 whole body), but only under a clear weather. Good photo opportunities during the morning.

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large

Other Spotting Locations

South Side Drop-off Area

Access and Transport - Airport Express or MTR to Tung Chung, then change to bus S1 to the Airport terminal building. There are actually two bus stops near the terminal, one just before (which is next to Carpark 2) and one directly under the terminal. The bus stop under the terminal is closer for this spot. To return to Tung Chung, take the bus from the same bus stop (it’s a circular route).

Type of action - 25R arrivals & 25L cargo arrivals (in the distance)

Pros - comfortable, lots of shade, 25R arrivals are frequent, easy access to Airport washrooms, shops and restaurants

Cons - lamp posts get in the way, not particularly close to the planes, cannot see any departures

Near GFS - can see departures of south rwy.

Locations to Avoid


Regular Traffic

Pax A/C

Cathay Pacific all fleets (A330-300, A350-900/-1000, B777-200/300/300ER)

Cathay Dragon all fleets (A320/A321/A330-300)

China Airlines (B737-800 / A330-300 / B747-400)

China Southern (B737-300/ -800 / A320 / A321)

China Eastern (B737-700 / -800 / A320 / A321 / A330)

Hong Kong Airlines / Hong Kong Express (B737-800 / A330-200)

Air China (B737-300 / -700 / -800 / A321 / A330-200 / B777-200ER)

Eva Air (A330-200 / B787-9 / B777-300ER (occasionally))

Aeroflot (B777-300ER)

Air Astana (B757-200 / B767-300ER)

Air Canada (B777-200LR, B777-300ER / B787-9)

Air Belgium (A340-300)

Air India (B777-200LR, B787-9)

Air Mauritius (A330-200 / A350-900)

Air Niugini (B757-200 / B737-800)

Airasia (A320 *both from Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia subsidiary bases)

Bangkok Airways (A319 / A320)

Cebu Pacific Air (A321 / A320)

Eastar Jet (B737-800 / -900ER / MAX 8)

Ethiopian Airlines (B767-300ER / B787-9)

El Al (B777-200ER / B787-9 / B767-300ER / B747-400 (occasionally))

Emirates (B777-300 / -300ER / A380-800)

Fiji Airways (A330-200 / -300)

Finnair (A340-300 / A350 XWB)

Garuda Indonesia (B737-800 / A330-300)

Indigo (A320)

JC International Airlines (A320)

Jeju Air (B737-800)

Korean Air (B737-800 / -900ER / A330-300 / B777-300 / B747-400Combi)

Lanmei Airlines (A321 / A319)

Malaysia Airlines (B737-800 / A330-300 / A380-800 (occasionally))

Malindo Air (B737-900ER / B737-800)

MIAT Mongolian Airlines (B737-800 / B767-200 (occasionally))

Nepal Airlines (B757-200 (9N-ACA), B757-200Convertable (9N-ACB))

Peach Aviation (A320)

Qantas Airways (A330-200 /-300 / B747-400 / -400ER)

Royal Brunei Airlines (A319 / A320 / B767-300ER)

Royal Jordanian (A330-200)

Saudi Arabian (B747-300 / -400)

Shanghai Airlines (B737-800 / B767-300 / -300ER)

Shenzhen Airlines (A319)

Singapore Airlines (B777-200ER / B777-300 / -300ER / A380-800)

Spicejet (A320)

South African Airways (A340-600)

Thai Airways (A330-300 / B777-200 / -200ER / -300 / B747-400)

Vietnam Airlines (A321)

Xiamen Airlines (B737-700 / -800 / B787-9)

Cargo A/C Daytime

Cathay Pacific Cargo (74F / 747-800F(coming soon))

Airbridge Cargo Airlines (74F)

UPS (74F, MD-11F)

Atlas Air (74F)

AeroLogic (B777-200LRF)

Emirates Skycargo (B777-200LRF, 74F)

Hong Kong Airlines cargo (73F, A330-200F (starting Oct 2010))

All Nippon airways (76F)

Lufthansa Cargo (MD-11F)

Kalitta Air (74F)

China Cargo Airlines (A300-600PtF *(China Eastern livery), MD-11F)

Federal Express (MD-11F, A310F)

Donghai Airlines (B73F)

Cargolux (74F)

Cargolux Italia (74F)

Martinair / KLM Cargo (74F)

TNT Airways (74F)

Korean Air (74F)

Singapore Airlines Cargo (74F)

Deccan Cargo & Express (A310F)

Polar Air Cargo (74F)

Malaysia Airlines (74F)

Nippon Cargo Airlines (74F)

Qatar Airways Cargo (B777-200LRF)

Shanghai Airlines Cargo (MD-11F / 75F)

Southern Air (74F / 742F *some ops for Ethiopian Airlines Cargo)

Afterdark / non-frequent services

Aeroflot (MD-11F)

Eva Air Cargo (74F, MD-11F)

China Airlines Cargo (74F)

Saudi Arabian (74F / MD-11F)

Southern Air / Thai Cargo (B777-200LRF)

Polet (IL-96-400T)

D.E.T.A. Air JSC (DC-10F)

Jett8 Airlines Cargo (74F)

Asiana Airlines (74F / 76F)

Finnair Cargo (MD-11BCF)

Jade Cargo Int'l Co. Ltd (74F)

Air Hong Kong / DHL (A300-600F)

Transmile Air Services (72F)

DHL (76F)

Yangtze River Express (73F)

Facilities and Transportation

Ground Transportation to / from downtown Hong Kong

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is one of the airports in the world that has an extremely high public transport usage, with more than 90% of airport trips are made by public transportation. Thanks to the efficient public transport network in Hong Kong, passengers and workers can easily reach the airport from nearly any place in Hong Kong by bus 7 days a week. There are also plenty of overnight bus services linking several major towns and the airport. Additionally, the Airport Express Line (AEL) links downtown Hong Kong (Central) and the West Kowloon area with frequent train service.

Facilities at HKIA

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 is the main terminal at HKIA, with direct linkage to the airside. A majority of the airlines' check-in facilities are located in this terminal, and both the departure and arrival hall provide shops, cafes, restaurants from budget to high end, post office kiosk, bank ATM, etc.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is a new terminal which was opened in June 2007, and is located just East of Terminal 1. Since all the airside facilities of HKIA is located on the West side of the airport island, there is no direct linkage of Terminal 2 and the airside beside an automatic-people-mover (APM) system. Passengers who finish the check-in process in Terminal 2 can have the immigration and security checks completed underneath Terminal 2, and then take the APM back to Terminal 1 (airside) and continue to the gates. Note that all passengers arrive at Terminal 1. Terminal 2 contains more of an entertainment atmosphere, with a higher proportion of shops and entertainment vs. air-related facilities.