Shanghai Hongqiao Airport – Spotting Guide

Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (SHA/ZSSS) is situated 13 km southwest of the downtown of Shanghai which means a 30 minutes ride by train (Metrolines 2 and 10 are connecting the airport with the city) or a ~1 hour ride by bus. The airport was built in 1906 and opened in 1907 as a military airbase. Back in 1923 the first civil airliner flew to SHA and from this point on the airfield became a normal passengerairport.

But more and more people/tourists travelled to Shanghai, the city grew very fast (today 23 million citizens) and the airport got to small and couldn’t be expanded. That’s why a new airport was opened back in 1999 almost 40km away from SHA. Almost all international routes without Asia were apportioned to Pudong and from that moment on Hongqiao just operated flights within Asia. Today more than 75% of the flights to/ex SHA are domestic flights within China, but it also handels a few international flights to destinations like Taipei, Tokyo and similar cities. The airport is a hub for the following airines, so you will see those quit often: China Eastern, Juneyao Airlines, Shanghai Airlines and Spring Airlines

About 40 million passengers travel through SHA every year, so the Airport is one of Chinas most busiest airports and that’s why it’s still an important airport for Shanghai and for China. The airport is served by following airlines (Date: March 2016): Air China, All Nippon Airways, China Eastern, China Southern, Dragon Air (now Cathay Dragon), EVA Air, Hebei Airlines, JAL, Juneyao Airlines, Lucky Air, Shanghai Airlines, Spring Airlines and Tibet Airlines.

Written by Severin Hackenberger (Visited in March 2016).

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Informations Runways 18R/36L  18L/36R
 3300m x 60m (Concrete)  3400m x 45m (Tarmac)
Terminals Terminal 1 (east side) Terminal 2 (west side)
 This is the old terminal which is used by intl. airlines and some local carriers today. Businessjets are parked on its apron.  The new terminal is mailnly used by the airlines with a hub at SHA. Maybe there changed something, because they were still building on the terminal during my vist.
Spotting Informations Ladder Not necessary at the mentioned locations.
Car Not really neccesary although the locations are far apart and switching runway will take a bit. But the public transport around Shanghai Hongqiao is good and fast.
Restrooms Around the Airport are many stores, hotels and restaurants. Or you can use the restrooms inside the terminalbuildings.
Drinks/Food Around the airport are manyw restaurants or you can get some snacks in the supermarkets.
Hotels There are many motels/hotels around the airport, because the airport is inside the city.
Season We recommend visiting the airport between October and August, because in September there might be wild huricans.
Runway Usage 18R/36L My experiences were, that this runway is mainly used for departures, if they are using 18-runways and if they are using 36-runways, it’s mainly used for arrivlas – sometimes it was used for departures, too (although the 36-runways were in use).
 18L/36R  My experiences were, that this runway is mainly used for arrivals, if they are using 18-runways and if they are using 36-runways, it’s mainly used for departures.

Spot #1 – Bridge – Morning Arrivals 18L
WHERE If you want to visit this spot by using Public Transport, follow these instructions: Take metroline 2 and exit at “Songhong Road” (last station before airport, if you come from eastern direction). Exit the metrostation to “Tianshan W Road “and follow the road for about 1,5km into western direction. When you cross a little river you arrived at the spot (I used). You can choose now your favourite spot, this depends on the angle you like the most.
WHAT Arrivals on runway 18L only.
TIME From sunrise till around 1pm.
MISC. If possible stay away from the street, because some drivers are driving very fast and dangerous there. A few shops/restaurants nearby, where you can find restrooms and eat something.
FOCAL LENGTH 70 – 300mm
Spot #2 – Riverbank – Evening Arrivals 18L
WHERE  If you want to visit this spot by using Public Transport, follow these instructions: Take metroline 2 and exit at “Songhong Road” (last station before airport, if you come from eastern direction). Exit the metrostation to “Tianshan W Road “and follow the road for about 2,5km into western direction. Then you should see a bridge on your right (if you come from Spot 1 – the 2nd bridge). Use this bridge to cross the river and on the other side of the river turn left and walk on the sidewalk next to the fence for about 500m, then you arrived at the spot (I used). You can choose now your favourite spot, this depends on the angle you like the most.
WHAT Arrivals on runway 18L only.
TIME From around 1pm till sunset.
MISC. A few shops/restaurants nearby, where you can find restrooms and eat something.
FOCAL LENGTH 100 – 300mm


Spot #3 – Jinjiang Hotel – Evening Arrivals 36L
WHERE  If you want to visit this spot by using public transport, follow these instructions: Take metroline 2 or 10 and exit at “Hongqiao Airport Terminal 2”. I recommend to take a taxi to the spot and not to go there by fot, because there are nosidewalks and going on the street can be very dangerous there! So take a taxi to Jinjiang Hotel and I recommend you to show on the map, which one you mean, because there are two Hotels (one at the southern end and one at the northern end).

After you arrived at the hotel cross the G318 street and follow the Qixin Road for about 200m into northern direction. Then you should have crossed a little river, so you arrived at the spot I used for my pictures.

WHAT Arrivlas on runway 36L and maybe aircrafts lining up on the runway (on hot days you’ll have heathaze).
TIME Runway has light from around 1pm till sunset. For line-ups it depends on the angle they are right then (when you take a picture).
MISC. If possible stay away from the street, because some drivers are driving very fast and dangerous there. In the summer you will have worse heathaze on the airfield, so the line-up pictures won’t be good. Everything you need is nearby, like shop, restaurants or hotels.
FOCAL LENGTH 100 – 350mm

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3 thoughts on “Shanghai Hongqiao Airport – Spotting Guide

    1. SeverinSeverin Post author

      Hi,

      Guide is updated – thank you for the information.

      Regards,
      Severin (Spotterguides.net-Team)

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