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Stockholm Arlanda Airport

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Continent: Europe Country: Sweden
Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Location Stockhom, Sweden
IATA code ARN
ICAO code ESSA
Airport type Commercial
Website http://www.arlanda.com
Overview map Google Maps
Communications
Tower 118.500, 125.125, 128.725
Ground 121.700, 121.925, 121.975
Clearance 121.825
Approach 120.500 (Director), 126.650
Departure124.100, 126.650
ATIS 119.000 (Arrival), 121.625 (Departure)
Plane Spotting Hotels guide

Arlanda is the largest and busiest airport in Sweden with around 20 million passengers in 2012 where you can spot mostly nordic airlines (SAS, Norwegian,...), but also Ethiopian or Thai. What is most striking about spotting at this location is that it is set in beautiful natural area surrounded by forests and lakes which make it a blast just to walk around and enjoy the scenery.

Arlanda aiport has three active runways: two of them are 2500 m long and one 3300 m long. The longest one (01L/19R) is most often used for both landings and take offs, but unfortunately that one is the furtherst from the terminal and most difficult to get to. Shots of aircraft on this runway is possible from the within the terminals (at the gates), but you have to have at least a 300mm lens and it is through glass so the quality is not overwhelming. All of the spots described bellow relate to the other two runways (01R/19L and 08/26) and most photos you see taken at Arlanda are from these two.

Official Spotting Locations

Spotter Shelter

Next to the threshold of Runway 19L there is a small wooden shelter on a hill provided by the Swedish Airport Authority. This weather protected spot gives you a good view over runway 19L/01R, taxiway W and the de-icing area. There is no glass and you are well above any fences, so you get unobstructed views. However, in terms of photography, this spot is only good for taking pictures of aircraft passing around on the taxiway W or skyshots as the runway 19L/01R is too far to allow quality landing or take off shots.

  • Planes.cz sample photo of an aircraft on taxiway W passing from south to north (shot at 80mm).
  • Planes.cz sample photo of an aircraft approaching the taxiway W from south to north (shot at 150mm)
  • Airliners.net sample photo: medium large - aircraft passing from north to south.
  • Planes.cz sample photo of an aircraft approaching RWY 19L (skyshot).

Getting there is easy if you have a bike or a car and there is also plenty of space to park. You can also walk to the spot from the terminal 5 but this is around a 30 min walk. A better option is to take a bus - do not take the three digit buses (i.e.583 etc) as those you have to pay for and the system is complicated and expensive. Instead, take the airport yellow transfer buses (two digit) because these are free and run often (except weekends, check schedule). To get to the shelter, the best option is to take bus number 10 and get off at the SAS-Hangaren stop. From there walk back to the main road and follow the sidewalks to the east (walk under the taxiway W) to the shelter (10 minute walk). Also, if you ask at the Information booth at the terminals, they will give you a map of the airport and explain how to get to the shelter.

Along the way, you can already see aircraft landing on RWY 19L, if between trees.

Other Spotting Locations

Threshold of RWY 19L

If you walk down the hill from the shelter to the road, you will find yourself right at the guiding lights with aircraft passing above you before touchdown.

Aprons by RWY 26

If you walk further out behind the shelter, you get good views of the aprons by the RWY 08/26. Shots of aircraft on the runway are possible from here, but the quality is again not overwhelming because of the angle and distance. However, you can try your luck to see what is happening at the aprons.

If you walk even further east, you cen get good shots of aircraft landing on RWY 26.

Rarely there are also take offs from RWY 08 that are visible from this spot as well.

19L/01R ops

Very easy to find is another spot and it is not far from the official pavillion. Both are in sight of each other. This one is basically anywhere along the eastern side of RWY 19L/01R where there is good light till noon. Shots of both lining up and landing aircraft, onto 19L, can be had. To get there, walk down from the shelter and make a left, head towards the IBIS airport hotel. Do not walk all the way to the hotel, but continue along the fence and pick your spot.

  • Planes.cz sample photo of an aircraft taxiing to the terminal after landing on RWY 01R. (shot at 100mm)
  • Airliners.net sample photo: medium large
  • Airliners.net sample photo: medium large of an aicraft landing on RWY 19L in the morning
  • Airliners.net sample photo: medium large of an aicraft coming to land on RWY 19L in the morning (below the aircraft you see the taxiway W)

Threshold of RWY 01L

The best way to get here is to drive and park at the cargo parking lot and then walk for about five minutes towards the fence.

  • Planes.cz sample photo of an aircraft shortly before entering RWY 01L for take off.

Airport cafeteria

From the airport cafeteria most activities can be observed. Some photos can also be obtained from here. The cafeteria seems to tolerate spotters as long as they buy something and prices are reasonable. Good place in the winter when it's freezing outside. It is also possible to wonder from one terminal to the other (connected by walkways) and take pictures, although obviously through glass.

Locations to Avoid

Arlanda seems pretty easygoing about spotters and I have not been approached once by anyone when walking around the fences and taking pictures.

Location

Regular Traffic

Facilities and Transportation

Links

Map of spotting locations at Arlanda Airport Arlanda airport entry at Wikipedia