Taipei Taoyuan Intl. Airport Spotting Guide (TPE/RCTP) is located 30 km west of Taiwan’s capital Taipei. It can be easily reched by car from motorway 2. To travel from Taipei to the airport buses are operating 24 hours. The MRT connection (metro) to Taipei is currently under construction as well as a connection to the high speed train HSR.
In 2015 38,5 million passengers were handled. The airport was opened in 1979 to remove the international flights from Taipei Songshan, which is located in the city. The Terminal 2 was opened in year 2000. Terminal 1 contains concourses A and B, Terminal 2 C and D. Currently Terminal 3 is under construction. The airport is the main hub of China Airlines and EVA Air.
TPE is currently served on regular service by local carriers China Airlines, EVA Air, Far Eastern Air Transport, Tiger Air Taiwan, Transasia Airways, Uni Airways and V Air. International carriers are Air Busan, Air China, Air Macau, AirAsia, AirAsia X, ANA, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Dragonair, Eastar, Emirates, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jeju Air, Jetstar, Jetstar Japan, Jin Air, Juneyao, KLM Asia, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Airways, Mandarin, NokScoot, Peach, Philippine Airlines, Scoot, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spring, Thai, Tiger Air, Turkish Airlines, Uni Airways, United, Vanilla Air, VietJet, Vietnam Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.
Cargo operations are ANA Cargo, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Cargo, China Airlines Cargo, China Cargo Airlines, China Postal Airlines, DHL, Emirates SkyCargo, EVA Air Cargo, FedEx Express, Hong Kong Airlines Cargo, MASkargo, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, SF Airlines, Thai Cargo, UPS Airlines, Yangtze River Express. Some of them can be only seen in dark.
You can check the flight schedule on http://www.taoyuan-airport.com/english/Index/ . Plane type is part of the live schedule. Also cargo flights can be found there.
During my visit only runways 23 were operated. In case of 05 operation there might be additional spots. The airport does not have an observation deck. From the terminal area no landside spots are available.
Written by Marcus (last visit July 2016)
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|Terminal||Terminal 1 A||Terminal 1 B|
|China Airlines, Air Asia, Korean||Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Air Macau, Scoot, Thai|
|Terminal 2 C||Terminal 2 D|
|EVA Air, ANA, Hong Kong Airlines, Singapore, Emirates||China Airlines, JAL|
|Spotting Information||Ladder||Not necessary at most spots.|
|Car||As no spots are located close to the terminal, a car is needed and a GPS is more than useful. Taxi drivers are not really helpful as they mostly don’t speak English.|
|Restrooms||Only in the cafe at spot 4.|
|Drinks/Food||In the cafe at spot 4. There are some 7-eleven shops around the airport.|
|Hotels||In Taoyuan. Most hotels offer free shuttle service from and to the airport.|
|Season||All Year. Best season is December until March, June until November is rain-season including typhoons (often rain or thunderstorms in the afternoon), the hottest time is April/May. Take sun protection with you!|
|Runway Usage||General Info||Some airlines are not fixed to a specific terminal and concourse, so check the online flight schedule for the gate.|
|05L/23R||Aircrafts at Terminal 1A and 2D will generally use 05L/23R, e.g. China Airlines. The runway is closed from 10:30 to 11:00 daily for maintenance.|
|05R/23L||Aircrafts at Terminal 1B and 2C will generally use this runway, e.g. Cathay, EVA, Air Macau. The runway is closed from 15:30 to 16:00 daily for maintenance.|
|Spot #1 – Abandoned taxiway – 05R/23L – Morning|
|WHERE||Taipeis most popular spotting location is at the end of an abandoned taxiway. Use the local road 5 parallel to the runway to get there. You can park your car directly at the fence. Now a 2-3 step ladder is required to reach over the barbed wire (be careful!) and the new builded, 1,4 meters high concrete blocks. The place can get very crowded during weekends as it is a popular place for families to visit. For GPS enter N25°04’03.9″ E121°14’09.2″|
|WHAT||You can get aircrafts on runway 05R/23L. Some aircrafts taking off on 23L are rotating in front of you. Also taxying aircrafts can be seen, but beware of heat haze.|
|TIME||Good until noon in summer.|
|MISC.||Nothing around, take sun protection with you.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||180 mm for A320 on the runway.|
|Spot #2 – The Bridge – Approach 23L|
|WHERE||On a bridge at Hangxiang Road next to Sanmin Road (Road 4). Just park your car at the side, but there is officially no parking. Police passes by without taking notice. No ladder required.|
|WHAT||You can get aircrafts approching 23L.|
|TIME||Afternoon until sunset.|
|MISC.||At the corner a 7-eleven offers cold drinks and some snacks.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||400 mm for A320|
|Spot #3 – DHL – Approach 23R morning|
|WHERE||Continue on the bridge from spot 2and turn left at the traffic lights. The spot is on the opposite site of DHL. Park your car at the side of the road. There is an abandoned lane where you can stay.|
|WHAT||You can take shots of aircrafts in final to 23R.|
|TIME||Sunrise until noon|
|FOCAL LENGTH||320 mm for A320|
|Spot #4 – The Miracle Cafe – 05L/23R|
|WHERE||Drive along the northern side of the airport on road 15 to reach the cafe. The building can be easily identified by the “tower” of the cafe. There is a car repair in the same building called EMC an you can´t miss it. Park your car directly in front of the buildings.|
|WHAT||All movements on 05L/23R can be seen from the terrace.|
|TIME||From noon until sunset.|
|MISC.||You can get food and drinks in the cafe, but the staff doesn’t necessarily speak English. Ask a local spotter for help… The cafe also offers free WiFi.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||320 mm for A320|
|Spot #5 – Approach 23R evening
|WHERE||Continue on the road from spot3 until you can turn left to pass the Tianliao Bridge. Park your car close to bridge and walk towards the position you prefer. Beware of power cables obstructing your view.|
|WHAT||You can take shots of aircrafts in final approach to 23R.|
|TIME||From noon until sunset.|
|MISC.||There’s nothing at this spot, bring with you what you need.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||300 mm for A320|