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Queen Beatrix International Airport

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Continent: Central America and Caribbean Country: Netherlands Region: Aruba
Queen Beatrix International Airport
Location Oranjestad, Aruba
Airport type Commercial
Overview map Google Maps
Tower 118, 121.9, 123.1
Ground 121.9
Approach 120.9, 128.85
ATIS 132.1
Plane Spotting Hotels guide

Official Spotting Locations

Main road "bus stops"

Aruba Airport has more or less official spotting locations along the main road from town (Oranjestad) to the airport. This road runs parallel with the runway (Runway 11/29). A few structures resembling bus stops, with benches, are provided to watch airport traffic. Most of the time you will find a few cars parked and people watching planes, but this isn't actually a good location due to the high perimeter fence. Only point and shoot cameras will have lenses small enough to fit through the fence, and this makes it difficult to make anything else than side-on shots.

Air traffic will mainly use runway 11, due to the predominant north-east trade winds. This means take-offs and landings from right to left, and taxiing traffic in the opposite direction. Only a few days per year really, this scheme is inversed.

Thanks to the orientation, viewing points along the main road provide reasonable lighting in the afternoon but lighting is generally quite harsh and difficult in Aruba.

Other Spotting Locations

Spots near Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach, the stretch of beach immediately west of the airport, offers some very interesting unofficial spotting possibilities.

First of all, directly bordering the roundabout at the edge of the airport, an iron gate breaks the monotony of the airport perimeter fence. This offers the possibility to fit a larger (tele) lens through.

Secondly, you can move a little bit further away along the fence in the direction of the airport terminal (away from the beach). Disadvantage is that you'll have to deal with the fence again, but it still offers good possibilities.

When you walk in the opposite direction, along the beach a few other places provide good views, provided you can deal with the fence.

At the end of the beach, you are almost underneath the flight path. Unfortunately the fence will block your views in many cases, but it is still a very nice place to spend some time.

  • sample photo: large

Finally, when you move over towards Havana, a very nice bar on the beach, or Pincho's, a restaurant and bar on a pier into the bay, you may be able to spot planes from quite a spectacular viewing point.

General Aviation (southeast side)

This location is next to the new General Aviation terminal on the south side of the airport. You can only reach this site by taxi or car (drive through the village of Simeon Antonio and follow the old coastal road until it ends at the airport fence).

With its northwest orientation it can be difficult to view landing aircraft in the afternoon, but it offers good views on the terminal, take-offs and landings as well as general aviation traffic. The fence is however an issue, as everywhere around the airport.

Locations to Avoid

Regular Traffic

American Airlines, Delta, Song, US Airways and Continental mainly use Boeing 757-200 for their Aruba flights. Continental occasionally uses the 757-300 and 737-800. US Airways and United Airlines fly Airbus A319 and A320 as well. KLM has frequent flights in the evening (landing in the early evening, take-off always after dark) with MD-11. From time to time Boeing 747-400 visits, earlier in the afternoon. A variety of smaller airlines serves AUA with ATR-42, Cessna Caravan, Let and other small turboprop aircraft. Aeropostal and Aserca visit almost daily with DC-9 planes, Surinam Airways has MD-80, and Avianca uses a variety of Boeing 757, 767 and MD-80. Various private jets and cargo planes (Boeing 727) can be seen as well.

The airport website has real-time flight information.

Facilities and Transportation