Victoria International Airport

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Continent: North America Country: Canada Region: British Columbia
Victoria International Airport
Location Victoria, British Columbia
Airport type Mixed-Use Commerical
Overview map Google Maps
Tower 119.70
Ground 121.90
Clearance 126.40
Approach 133.85
ATIS 118.80

A relatively quiet airport but with good facilities and opportunities for spotting/photography. Scheduled traffic is fairly limited, at least in terms of reach - Air Canada Express, WestJet/WestJet Encore, Horizon, Air Canada, Air North, Alaska, Delta, and some local commuter carriers and charter airlines all visit, but mostly only domestic routes. Can be slow at times, but one of the best places to get close to Dash-8s, Canadair jets etc. as well as the larger 737s/A320s.

Official Spotting Locations


View of the apron from the public viewing area

1. The public viewing area on the 3rd floor of the terminal. There are general views of gates 9, and surrounding apron (gates 6/7). Access is from an elevator behind the Tim Hortons. Glass fronted, facing North. A few seats. Note: If you're past security, you can get the same view as the public viewing area by going to the Gate 9/10 boarding area and using the window there.

2. External viewing "mound" to the left of the terminal. A small raised area overlooking the West ramp and taxiway. Tables and seats. Photography (50-100mm) possible over or through the fence. Note: As of Oct. 2007 the area has been reopened, but is not "officially" opened for spotting.

Other Spotting Locations

View of aircraft and helicopter from Hospital Hill

Hospital Hill

A small hill north of the airport with views of runway 09/27. Great to get pictures of traffic landing on 09 or taking off on 27, has overlooking views of the airport. Follow Mills road along The Flight Path Trail, and park at the bottom of the hill by the Holy Trinity Church. At the top of the hill, there is a "Lost Airmen of the Empire" memorial with benches and water. The fence gets in the way a little, but overall great photography.

East Hangars

Two left turns out of the terminal onto Canora Rd. leads to the East hangars. The main road curves right leaving a small cul-de-sac. This overlooks the helicopter base, the FBO ramp and the threshold of 27. Good spotting and photography from here, but no facilities - the locals bring their cars. A step ladder may help for photographers as the fence is quite high.

Tulista Park

A park in Sidney near the Anacortes ferry, across the road from the Cedarwood Inn & Suites. No runways are viewable here, but traffic landing on 27 or taking off on 09 are viewable. You'll mostly get underside shots of the aircraft, but with decent positioning side shots are possible. Benches, bathrooms, and water.

Pat Bay

A small park under the approach to runway 09. A little lower than the airport, no runways are visible here but 09 traffic passes directly overhead. A short walk along the beach gives a few opportunities for photos but nothing really outstanding. Also a small vehicle ramp access gate just south of the park offers some nice views when 09 is active, and generally no hassle from the authorities if you choose to park there, as long as you're not blocking access.

West Hangars

Turn right out of the terminal. The Forests base is located here and occasional air tankers are present in season. The Air Force has a hangar full of geriatric Sea Kings but it is firmly shut most of the time, in which case some taxiing shots of 09 traffic can be had from the parking lot.

Spotting Locations Map

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Locations to Avoid

Air Force Parking Lot

If the Cyclones are active, you may be approached by a military guard. Depending on his mood you may be asked to leave.

Regular Traffic

  • Air Canada Rouge: Toronto, Montreal - Seasonal (A320/A321/A319)
  • Air Canada Express: Vancouver (Q400, CRJ-900, Dash 8-300), Calgary (Q400), Edmonton (Q400)
  • Air North: Kelowna, Whitehorse, Vancouver (737-400/737-500)
  • Alaska: Seattle (Q400)
  • Orca Airways: Vancouver (Navajo Chieftain), Abbotsford (Navajo Chieftain), Tofino (Navajo Chieftain, seasonal)
  • Pacific Coastal Airlines: Vancouver- South Terminal, Kelowna, Prince George (Saab 340, Beech 1900C/1900D)
  • WestJet: Edmonton (B737-600/700/800), Calgary (B737-600/700/800), Toronto (B737-600/700/800)
  • WestJet Encore: Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Vancouver (Q400)
  • Sunwing Airlines: Seasonal - Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan (Boeing 737-800)

Facilities and Transportation

All terminal facilities are open to non-passengers.

For foot/bike transportation, use the Flight Path Trail - it's a trail surrounding the airport, offering access to all of the spotting locations, including the passenger terminal. In front of the short term parking area of the passenger terminal, there is a bike maintenance area with pumps, tools, and storage.

For bus transportation, there are routes 70/71/72 which stop at McTavish Exchange, where you can transfer to the 88 Airport or 87 Airport/Dean Park.