Sharjah Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

SHJ is not the biggest airport and the traffic is limited compared to the big brother Dubai, who is just a few of kilometres away. But there are a couple of unique airlines, especially cargo operators, who serve the airport and with only one active runway, its almost impossible to miss the flights.Sharjah is located just 10 miles eastwards of Dubai and is known for its wide variety of different cargo operators. But the times have changed within the past years and the traffic has shrunken. But there are still plenty of operators like UPS, Lufthansa Cargo, KLM Cargo, Singapore Cargo and less known airlines like GC Air Cargo, Midex, Air Trust or Tristar Cargo. Sadly most traffic takes place during the night, but during the day you will be able to catch one of the mentioned operators too.

On the other side, Air Arabia is the main passenger carrier at SHJ and is responsible for ~80 percent of the traffic. Some charter companies like Scat Airways, Ikar or UTair are using the facilities too. More Highlights are PIA with the ATR 42, Shaheen with a 737-400 or Air India with their old double main gear A320.
On the airport website, you will find the passenger and cargo arrivals/departures. But you can´t rely on the times, as the operators (especially cargo) switch their scheduled arrivals pretty frequent. Especially the smaller operators have not the most trustworthy arrival and departures times.

Written by Julian Mittnacht, Jan Seba & Jeremy Denton / Visited 2014

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Informations    Runways 12/30
4.063 m (13.330 ft)
Spotting Informations  Ladder not needed
Car not needed, taxi is cheap
Restrooms very close to all spots
Drinks/Food very close to all spots
Hotels the Centro Sharjah Hotel is located next to the terminal
Season we suggest November until March. Its just too hot in the summer.
More charter traffic at the weekend
Runway Usage  12/30 30 is the main direction for take offs and arrivals

Spot #1 – National Park – 30 Arrivals
WHERE This is the main spot in Sharjah if the planes are arriving from the desert. Its pretty easy to find. Just follow the sings from Sharjah to the airport on the E88. Pass the airport and the Car Museum until you see the park on the right hand side. Exit the State Road and park your car next to the entrance. You have to pay a small entrance fee of 2 AED (0.5 USD) but you can enter and exit the park as often as you want at this day.
After you have entered the park, you will see a big hill on the right side. Just climb up and you have reached the spot.
WHAT As you stay on the top of the hill, its pretty easy to shot the aircrafts over the trees. So you don´t have disturbing objects in front of you. At this place you can catch 30 arrivals only but this is the main direction for SHJ. 12 departures could be tricky as the aircrafts can be too high.
TIME Best light conditions in the winter are between 11 am and 6 pm.
MISCELLANEOUS There is no sun protection on the top of the hill so be prepared! Restrooms are next to the entrance and a small snack bar (not open all the time) is just below the hill.
SECURITY We had absolutly no problems with security or any other people during our visits. Spotting in Sharjah is much more tolerated than in Dubai! So this spot is pretty relaxing.
FOCAL LENGTH 250 mm for A320, 100 mm for a 747

 Spot #2 – Gas Station – Cargo Ramp
WHERE If you start at the airport follow the signs on the E88, heading to Sharjah downtown. After a couple of hundred meters you will see an entrance to a gas station. Ignore the gas pumps and head all the way to the fence next to the airport perimeter. Park your care there and climb up a smaller wall, so you can easily shot over the airport fence
WHAT This is not really a long stay spot as you see only the cargo ramp. Its just possible to shot some cargo aircrafts parked up there, thats all.
TIME We recommend to visit this place in the late afternoon. Heat haze is a big problem there during the day!
MISCELLANEOUS McDonalds and Restrooms are within the gas station.
SECURITY You should not stay too long there, especially when you stay on the wall. Take the pictures and then drive away. But the workers usually don´t care about you.
FOCAL LENGTH 100-300 mm
Spot #3 – National Park (outside) – 30 Arrivals
WHERE Follow the sings from Sharjah to the airport on the E88. Pass the airport and the Car Museum until you see the park on the right hand side. Exit the State Road and park your car next to the entrance and stay inside. This spot is an alternative when the park is closed.
WHAT Only arrivals on rwy30 are possible. Stay on your car with the window open, read a book and listen to the music
TIME Best light conditions in the winter are between 11 am and 6 pm.
MISCELLANEOUS There is only the petrol station with some drinks and foods at spot 2. Otherwise nothing else.
SECURITY We had absolutely no problems with security or any other people during our visits. Spotting in Sharjah is much more tolerated than in Dubai! So this spot is pretty relaxing but keep your camera inside the car.
FOCAL LENGTH 250 mm for A320, 100 mm for a 747
Spot #4 – A Day Ramp Tour
WHERE Sharjah Intl. Airport offers a day ramp tour for a price of 1’000.- AED (~250 USD). You will find the application form for the photography/ramp permission on the airports website.
WHAT
The authorities of the airport are quiet nice people and you can go where you want, touch the aircraft, go inside, speak with people over there without problems. Only military are not allowed. They will give you a cap, a block note, a pen and an orange safe jacket. You have also a driver with you who drives you where you want to go on the ramp at any time.
TIME The whole day.
MISCELLANEOUS The tour is very expensive and the amount of parked aircraft has been shrinking for years. These sample pictures were taken in 2011.

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