Brussels Airport Spotting Guide

Brussels Airport (IATA: BRU, ICAO: EBBR) is located northeast of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In 2014, the airport welcomed almost 22 million passengers, making it the 23rd busiest airport in Europe. The Military part, named Melsbroek (ICAO: EBMB), is located on the northeast side of the airport, with which it shares runways and ground and air control facilities. There is also cargo handling (Brucargo) and a general aviation part (mainly handled by Abelag). Cargo comes mainly from Ethiopian Cargo, Qatar Cargo, Saudi Arabian Cargo and Singapore Cargo, but also DHL and a few brokers.

Brussels Airlines, Jetairfly and Thomas Cook Airlines have their homebase at EBBR. Of course, several other carriers serve Brussels Airport as well, from all over Europe, North Africa (Royal Air Maroc, Tunsiair, Egypt Air), the USA (United, Delta, American), Asia (Hainan, Thai) and MEA (Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad). Brussels Airlines also connects to a lot of destinations in the African continent. Most movements happen between 7:00 and 14:00, when most long-haul flights arrive and depart. Also the evening can bring some nice and interesting flights. The lowest traffic happens between 14:00 & 17:00.

Since the NATO headquarters are located in Brussels, at less than 5km from the airport, we regularly have some nice governmental visitors, when NATO summits are happening.

Free parking is available around the airport, but you might have to take a walk to some of the spots nevertheless. The bus station is located on level 0 – one floor down from the arrivals hall. Brucargo is served by bus lines 272, 616, 651, 652, 659, 660, 681, 682, 683, 686, 820, 821 and 830. All De Lijn services that run via Brucargo depart from platform B. The use of the De Lijn buses between bus stops located within the airport perimeter is free for all.

Bus info with all lines passing the airport => De Lijn, stop Zaventem Perron A

For the latest and trustworthy news on EBBR/Aviation in general => www.flightlevel.be and www.luchtzak.be.
Some more info on expected flights etc. can be found on www.luchtzak.be and www.mst-aviation.nl

All spots are based upon my personal experience, so feel free to discover new ones.

Written by Björn Van Brussel (local spotter)

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Airline Variety
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Weather
Airport Information Runways 25R/07L 25L/07R 01/19
3.638m x 45m 3.211m x 45m 2.987m x 50m
Terminals Terminal A  Terminal B
Flights from and to the Schengen countries (A-gates). Also all Brussels Airlines flights to African destinations (T-gates). Only used for flights outside the Schengen Area.
Spotting Information Ladder Could be helpful at some places for spotters that absolutely don’t want any obstacles in the pictures, but you can easily make it without one.
Car For some spots it’s advised to use a car, else you’ll lose more time in public transport etc… Some spots are a little walk away from the parking spots though, but it’s acceptable.
Restrooms Inside the terminal and parking buildings. None at most spots, but some fuel-stations/pubs are near.
Drinks/Food Typical (fast)food inside the terminal (Quick, Pizza Hut, EXKI, Starbucks…) (public area) and a restaurant with view on the apron on the 4th floor (Wing Tips). Small shops at the terminal and a few gas stations around the airport. Also a Carrefour Express in Steenokkerzeel center and a Delhaize in the cargo area (north of the airport).
Hotels Several hotels around/at the airport.
Season The weather can be pretty variable. Best periods are late spring, whole summer and early autumn. Winter gives an opportunity for some nice light pictures as well, without heat-haze.
Runway Usage  General Info Further information on runway usage can be found on: www.batc.be/en
25R Mainly used for departures. Also cargo arrivals and some planes that park at the A-pier.
25L Mainly used for landings, very rarely used for departures.
07R Mainly used for departures when (north)eastern winds.
07L Mainly departures for cargo and bizjets when eastern winds. Sometimes also used for arrivals.
01 Mainly used for landings with very strong (north)eastern winds.
19 Sometimes used for departures and arrivals.

Spot#1 – P1 Front Parking – 25R arrivals and departures
WHERE The spot is located on the top floor of the P1 parking.

By car:
From the Brussels Ring (R0), follow the A201 towards Zaventem. You will see the airport buildings in front of you. Once you pass the bridge, follow the “Front Park P1” signs. Parking at P1 isn’t cheap, so best is to park somewhere around the airport and either walk to P1 or try to catch one of the free De Lijn buses that tour between the Brucargo area and the airport.

By train/bus:
Get off at Brussels Airport and follow the signs to P1. You can’t miss.
WHAT 25R arrivals and departures during morning and also taxishots are possible. Some planes for the general aviation also pass by in front of the parking when arriving on 25R.
TIME From sunrise until noon/early afternoon
MISC. Heat haze might be a problem on warm days and a few antennas/wires could be an issue. Distance to the runway is pretty big but it’s not impossible.
Airport buildings are nearby for food and drinks and there are free toilets on the 5th floor.

UPDATE: seen the recent events at EBBR, you might be asked to leave the parking by security/police/military personel
FOCAL LENGTH 200-400mm (Thomas Cook = 360mm, SN 330 = 220mm, Falcon = 330mm)
Spot#2 – P3 Holiday Parking – 01/19 overview & 07R/25L overview & taxishots
WHERE The spot is located on the top floor of the P3 parking.

By car:
From the Brussels Ring (R0), follow the A201 towards Zaventem. You will see the airport buildings in front of you. Once you pass the bridge, just follow the “Holiday P3” signs. Parking at P3 isn’t cheap (you pay for 1 full day minimum!), so best is to park somewhere around the airport and either walk to P3 or try to catch one of the free De Lijn buses that tour between the Brucargo area and the airport.

By train/bus:
Get off at Brussels Airport and follow the signs to P3. You can’t miss.
WHAT You have an overview of runway 01/19 and 07R/25L and taxishots are also possible from here.
TIME From late afternoon until sunset.
MISC. Heat haze might be a problem on warm days.
Airport buildings are nearby for food and drinks and there are free toilets on the 5th floor.

UPDATE: seen the recent events at EBBR, you might be asked to leave the parking by security/police/military personel
FOCAL LENGTH 150-400mm (Turkish = 200mm, Royal Air Maroc = 240mm, Saudi Cargo = 300mm)
Spot#3 – Brussels Airlines Crewcenter parking – 25R departures + general aviation
WHERE The spot is located on the parking between the Abelag building and the Brussels Airlines Crewcenter.

By car:
From the Brussels Ring (R0), follow the A201 towards Zaventem. You will see the airport buildings in front of you. Don’t pass the bridge, but keep to the right and follow “General Aviation” at the roundabout. This will lead you onto the Ringlaan. You will pass Abelag, the Brussels Airlines Crewcenter and then the Thomas Cook offices on your right. Take a left (little uphill) and go left again (Olmenstraat) to cross the bridge. At the roundabout, go right and then you have a possible parking spot on your right side (Then it’s a 10min walk to the spot). Parking at the Abelag reserved parking is not advised!

By bus from the airport:
Take the bus at the airport and get off at the Brussels Airlines Crewcenter (bus stop B-house, lines 272, 616, 651, 652, 659, 660, 681, 682, 683, 686, 820, 821 & 830). You’re directly at the spot.
WHAT You have a clear view of planes taking off on runway 25R, although if they are small/light, they might be pretty high already (bellyshots). In front of you is part of the general aviation parking, so you can also see some parked planes here.
TIME From morning till early afternoon.
MISC. (!) Since recently, they build a wall of approx. 2m high between the parking and the general aviation parking space, so if you want to have a shot of parked planes, you’ll need a ladder of several steps. Not really allowed, so if you dare, it’s hit and run. Also, there is nothing near this place, so bring along food/drinks. Since you’re on a non-public parking, try to respect it!
FOCAL LENGTH 25R takeoff 150-400mm, general aviation 50-200mm (Vueling = 350mm, Thai = 165mm, Irish Government = 155mm)
Spot#4 – Brussels Airport personnel parking – 07L arrivals and departures
WHERE The spot is located near the bus stop at the crossing of the Ringlaan and the end of the Dreststraat.

By car:
See spot#3 (parking in the streets surrounding this spot is no longer allowed!)

By bus from the airport:
Take the bus at the airport and get off at the bus stop Machelen Korenberg (lines 272, 616, 651, 652, 659, 660, 681, 682, 683, 686, 820, 821 & 830)
WHAT When standing on the little hill behind the bus stop you can catch 07 arrivals. If you go to the crashgate on the other side of the road, you will be able to photograph the planes when they line up for 07L departure.
TIME 07L arrivals from early morning till afternoon, 07L departures from mid afternoon till sunset.
MISC. There is nothing near this place, so bring along food/drinks. In worst case you could go to the Novotel hotel for a toilet. That’s not too far away.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-300mm (Jetairfly = 300mm, ABX = 120mm)


Spot#5 – Cargo hill – 25R departures & 07L arrival & cargo area
WHERE The spot is located right next to the cargo area and gives a nice overview of the airport and the cargo stands. It’s on top of a little hill, so no troubles with fences.

By car:
When on the E19 Brussel-Antwerpen, take exit 12 (Vilvoorde-Luchthavenlaan) and drive on towards “Cargo” and then to Diegem (lots of crossing roads here, so better stay focused) You need to end up next to & under the newly build bridge. Take a right on the Haachtsesteenweg. On your left you’ll have the Brussels Cargo site. Continue towards the next red-light (crossing with the Heirbaan). Make a U-turn and try to park your car here along the road. From here, you can enter the Cargo site and walk to the spot.


By bus from the airport:
Take the bus at the airport and get off at the bus stop Machelen Cargo Post (lines 272, 616, 651, 652, 659, 660, 681, 682, 683, 686, 820, 821 & 830). Walk to the spot from here. 


UPDATE: this spot is currently no longer accessible/allowed. You will be asked to leave by security (Aug 2016). Its future is unknown.

WHAT You will see departures on rwy25R and arrivals on 07L. You also see the parked cargo planes, especially those at stand 908 and 909. If the cargo planes leave the cargo bay via taxiway A7, you can take some nice sideshots.
TIME From late afternoon till sunset.
MISC. Note that small/light planes are already pretty high when taking off on 25R.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-400mm (Southern Air = 400mm, Korean = 80mm, Asiana = 150mm)


Spot#6 – Lufthansa Technik – 25R departures
WHERE This spot is located on a small parking between the Lufthansa Technik hangar and a Swissport building.

By car:
Same as for spot#5, but keep following “Cargo” all the way, until you end up in the cargo site, at a roundabout. Take the first exit and you’ll see the Delhaize on your right, where you can park your car. You can also try to park your car directly at the spot, but not sure if it’s really allowed.

By bus from the airport:
Take the bus at the airport and get off at bus stop Machelen Cargo Discount Parking (lines 272, 616, 651, 652, 659, 660, 681, 682, 683, 686, 820, 821 & 830) and then walk to the spot.
WHAT You will see departures on rwy25R.
TIME Late afternoon till sunset, but only in summertime.
MISCELLANEOUS You have a Delhaize behind you for food and drinks. In the Cargo area you might also find a public toilet (at your own risk 🙂 )
FOCAL LENGTH 100-300mm (Ethiopian = 150mm, Malta = 240mm, Blue1 = 220mm)
Spot#7 – Policestation Steenokkerzeel – 19 arrivals
WHERE The spot is located behind the Steenokkerzeel police station, in a field.

By car:
When on the E19 Brussel-Antwerpen, take exit 12 (Vilvoorde-Luchthavenlaan) and follow towards Steenokkerzeel. Once you’re on the Haachtsesteenweg, you will have the airport and the Military hangars on your right. At the 3rd red-light, take a right towards Steenokkerzeel Centrum. You can park your car along the Tervuursesteenweg or in the immediate vicinity. Enough space to park your car here.

By bus from the airport:
Take line 651 at the airport and get off at bus stop Steenokkerzeel Oud Station.
WHAT You will see arrivals on rwy19.
TIME Late afternoon till sunset.
MISCELLANEOUS There is nothing near this place, so bring along food/drinks.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-300mm (#Trident = 110mm, Turkish = 135mm)


Spot#8 – Kapelstraat – 19 arrivals
WHERE The spot is located not far away from Spot#7 in a calm residential area.

By car:
The same as spot#7, towards Steenokkerzeel Centrum on the Tervuurstesteenweg and then pick the first street on your left (Keistraat). Once you’re at the split, follow to the right and then you’re in the Kapelstraat. You can park your car in the area.

By bus from the airport:
See spot#7 and then walk to this spot.
WHAT You will see arrivals on rwy19.
TIME Morning till early afternoon.
MISC. There is nothing near this place, so bring along food/drinks. In the afternoon, you can make nice head-on shots here. Otherwise if you prefer a side-on shots, spot #9 is your place to be.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-300mm (Air India = 50mm, Finnair = 120mm, XL = 300mm)
Spot#9 – 25R crashgate – 25R arrivals/19 arrivals
WHERE This spot is located around the roundabout with the “Renaissance Man” statue (a man with wings and some birds).

By car:
The same as spot#7, towards Steenokkerzeel Centrum and take the second exit at the roundabout (follow Steenokkerzeel Centrum) and after 100m on your right you have a small parking space. On the other side of the road you have the 25R crashgate.

By bus from the airport:
Take line 651 at the airport and get off at bus stop Steenokkerzeel Nieuwstraat.
WHAT When you position yourself at the end of the parking, facing the crashgate, you can take pictures of the planes when arriving on rwy19. You can also move a little more towards the roundabout again to see the arrivals on 25R.
TIME rwy19 arrivals early morning till noon, rwy25R arrivals from late afternoon till sunset.
MISC. Steenokkerzeel center is not too far away, so if you need toilets or food/drinks, you can find it there.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-300mm (Brussels Airlines = 90mm , Singapore = 300mm, Icelandair = 80mm)
Spot#10 – Scouts Steenokkerzeel – 25R arrivals
WHERE This spot is located near the Scouts terrain in Steenokkerzeel, at the crossing of the Keizerinlaan and the De Lannoylaan.

By car:
The same as spot#7, towards Steenokkerzeel Centrum and take the second exit at the roundabout (follow Steenokkerzeel centrum). Follow the road for about 500-600m until you have a parking space at your left. Take the road left (Hamdreef) and then again the first on your left (Keizerinlaan). Continue straight on until you reach the little roundabout. There’s sufficient parking space in the vicinity.

By bus from the airport:
Take line 651 at the airport and get off at bus stop Steenokkerzeel Nieuwstraat. Then walk to the spot.
WHAT You will be able to see planes coming in on rwy25R.
TIME Morning till early afternoon.
MISC. Steenokkerzeel center is not too far away, so if you need toilets or food/drinks, you can find it there. Some people might not like this place since the planes are still a little high so the alternative is spot #11. But you can make some nice shots here if you’re not into sideshots.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-300mm (Jet Airways = 110mm, Lufthansa = 110mm, all other pics = 300mm)
Spot#11 – Cemetery Steenokkerzeel – 25R arrivals
WHERE This spot is located on the parking of the Steenokkerzeel Cemetery.

By car:
The same as spot#7, towards Steenokkerzeel Centrum and take the second exit at the roundabout (follow Steenokkerzeel centrum). Follow the road for about 500m and then take the first street on your right (Coenenstraat). Then again right onto the parking of the cemetery.

By bus from the airport:
Take line 651 at the airport and get off at bus stop Steenokkerzeel Kerk. Then walk to the spot.
WHAT You will be able to see planes coming in on rwy25R.
TIME Morning till early afternoon.
MISC. You’re spotting in the vicinity of a cemetery, so show some respect for the surroundings and do not access the cemetery itself but stay on the parking lot. (There is an official announcement that “spotters” are not allowed on the cemetery). Some trees might be visible in some of your shots. Just a matter of timing.
Steenokkerzeel center is not too far away, so if you need toilets or food/drinks, you can find it there.
FOCAL LENGTH 100-300mm (Thomas Cook = 200mm, Falcon = 300mm, MyCargo 747 = 115mm)
Spot#12 – Wegel 25L – 25L arrivals
WHERE This spot is located in the Aarschotstraat in Steenokkerzeel, near a crashgate for rwy25L.

By car:
From the E19 (Brussel-Antwerpen), it’s the same start as for spot 7, towards Steenokkerzeel Centrum but go straight ahead at the first roundabout (Tervuursesteenweg). You will then pass the Brussels tower on your right. At the second roundabout, take the second exit (Kortenbergsesteenweg). Take the first right again (Gorislaan). Then take the second street on your left to enter the Aarschotstraat. You’ll see a crashgate in front of you. Just before the gate is the small path at your left
When coming in from the E40 (Brussel – Luik), take exit 21 (Sterrebeek) and go on the N227 towards Steenokkerzeel. Continue straight ahead for approx 4km (you’ll pass 2 red lights and pass the tunnel underneath rwy25L) until you reach a roundabout (you’ll see the Brussels tower left in front of you). Take the first exit (Kortenbergsesteenweg). Take the first right again (Gorislaan). Then take the second street on your left to enter the Aarschotstraat. You’ll see a crashgate in front of you. Just before the gate is the small path at your left.

By bus from the airport:
Take line 651 at the airport and get off at bus stop Steenokkerzeel Dijkstraat. Then walk to the spot (+/- 500m walk)
WHAT You will be able to see planes coming in on rwy25L. You can also use this spot for takeoff 07R but not in the best conditions. Due to obstacles, clean side on shots are almost not possible.
TIME Late afternoon till sunset.
MISC. Don’t park your car in front of the gate, but search a parking place in the vicinity instead.
FOCAL LENGTH  100-300mm (XL Airways = 300mm, SAS = 230mm, Arke = 170mm)


Spot#13 – Approach lights 25L – 25L arrivals
WHERE This spot is located on the Kortenbergsesteenweg in Steenokkerzeel, near the approachlights of rwy25L.

By car:
From the E19 (Brussel-Antwerpen), it’s the same start as for spot 7, towards Steenokkerzeel Centrum but go straight ahead at the first roundabout (Tervuursesteenweg). You will then pass the Brussels tower on your right. At the second roundabout, take the second exit (Kortenbergsesteenweg). Follow this road for +/-1km until you pass between the approach lights.
When coming in from the E40 (Brussel – Luik), take exit 21 (Sterrebeek) and go on the N227 towards Steenokkerzeel. Continue straight ahead for approx 4km (you’ll pass 2 red lights and pass the tunnel underneath rwy25L) until you reach a roundabout (you’ll see the Brussels tower left in front of you). Take the first exit (Kortenbergsesteenweg). Follow this road for +/-1km until you pass between the approach lights.
You can park either near the water tower, but spaces are limited there. You can also opt for the parking space near Kortenberg trainstation and then walk (+/-1km walk).

By bus from the airport:
Take line 651 at the airport and get off at bus stop Erps-Kwerps Watertoren. Then walk to the spot (+/-250m walk)
WHAT You will be able to see planes coming in on rwy25L.
TIME Late afternoon till sunset.
MISC. Feel free to move around this place to find your best position. Nice position for head-on shots or detailed shots.
Please pay attention where you park your car. There are quite some parking restrictions here.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-400mm (Malev = 70mm, Jetair = 200mm, SAS 420mm, all other pics 300mm)
Spot#14 – Mechelsesteenweg – 25L arrivals
WHERE This spot is located on the Mechelsesteenweg, between the approach lights of 25L and the Steenokkerzeel water tower. You can move around here to your preferred spot (somewhere between point A & B), it’s a pretty open space.

By car or bus:
see spot #13.
WHAT You will be able to see planes coming in on rwy25L.
TIME Early morning till ~14:00
MISC. Feel free to move around this place to find your best position. Nice position for head-on shots or detailed shots. Please pay attention where you park your car. There are quite some parking restrictions here.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-300mm (Jet Airways = 300mm, El Al = 300mm, Tailwind 135mm)
Spot#15 – Meteostation – 25L arrivals
WHERE This spot is located in a small car-free road that runs south of rwy25L and links the Mechelsesteenweg/Kortenbergsesteenweg with the Tervuursesteenweg (N227). There is one single building, with a path running towards it. That’s the spot.

By car:
Easiest is to go to spot#13 or #14 and then walk into the small road. Or you can reach it by parking near spot #16 en then walk to the spot.

By bus from the airport:
Take line 651 at the airport and get off at bus stop Erps-Kwerps Watertoren. Then walk to the spot (+/-250m walk).
WHAT You will be able to see planes coming in on rwy25L.
TIME Early morning till ~14:00
MISC. Like most other spots, there is nothing near this place, so bring whatever you need. Some might not like this spot, since it give a little chance to some fence in your pictures.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-300mm (Tailwind= 110mm)


Spot#16 – Transit Center 127bis ‘Caricole’ – 25L arrivals / 07R departures
WHERE This spot is located between the runway 25L/07R and the transit center 127bis ‘Caricole’. You are located on a small hill, so you have a nice overview on the runway, with the Brussels Control Tower in front of you.

By car:
From the E19 (Brussel-Antwerpen), it’s the same start as for spot#7, towards Steenokkerzeel Centrum but go straight ahead at the first roundabout (first exit, on the Tervuursesteenweg). You will then pass the Brussels tower on your right. At the second roundabout, take again the first exit (still on the Tervuursesteenweg). You will then pass the tunnel underneath rwy25L. Once you’re out, after +/-100m, you have a small road on your left. Take this road and you’ll end up at the parking of the new transit center.
When coming in from the E40 (Brussel – Luik), take exit 21 (Sterrebeek) and go on the N227 towards Steenokkerzeel. Continue straight ahead for +/-3km (you’ll pass 2 red lights). Just before entering the tunnel underneath rwy25L, you have a small road on your right. Take this road and you’ll end up at the parking of the new transit center.

By bus from the airport:
Take line 651 at the airport and get off at bus stop Erps-Kwerps Watertoren. Then walk to the spot (it’s +/-15min walk!).
WHAT You will be able to see planes landing on rwy25L or take-off from runway 07R (some small planes might be pretty high already).
TIME Early morning till ~14:00
MISC. Some might not like it for 25L arrival shots, since you can have some fence in your pics for large planes. A ladder could be useful, but seems like the police are not really in favour of this (already got feedback from several spotters that they got remarks on this). Use it on your own risk, just don’t spoil the fun for the others…
Sometimes the people inside the center might try to catch your attention. Just ignore them and everybody’s happy.
This is a frequently visited spot, so please do respect it. Officially the parking is only for transit center visitors, but I’m not aware of any troubles if you’re just going there for spotting/watching.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-300mm (Emirates = 70mm, Etihad = 300mm, Jet Airways = 80 & 300mm)


Spot#17 – Sand hills – 25L arrival / 07R departures / 19 departures
WHERE You are located on some big sand hills, south of rwy25L and next to the football terrain of S.K. Nossegem. The spot is located near the Namenstraat in Zaventem.

By car:
From the E19 (Brussel-Antwerpen), it’s the same as for spot#16, but instead of taking left after the tunnel, take the first on your right (Namenstraat). Parking is possible in this street, but please avoid the parking of the football club.

When coming in from the E40 (Brussel – Luik), take exit 21 (Sterrebeek) and go on the N227 towards Steenokkerzeel. Continue straight ahead for +/-2km (you’ll pass 2 red lights). You’ll see a billboard indicating S.K. Nossegem, so just turn left to enter the Namenstraat.From there on, walk onto the sand hills (there is a small path to your right that leads to the spot).UPDATE: this spot is currently no longer accessible as a fence was built around the hills.
WHAT You will be able to see planes landing on rwy25L or take-off from rwy07R & rwy19
TIME Early morning till ~14:00
MISC. It’s not really known if this spot will be long available still, since there are ongoing works at the sand hills. In short, the situation can change at any time. Heat haze can be an issue on hot days.
Nothing near this place so take whatever you need. Bushes in the vicinity, if nature calls…
FOCAL LENGTH 70-400mm (United & Jet Airways departing rwy19 = 300mm, Vueling departing rwy07R = 250mm, Brussels Airlines departing rwy07R = 140mm)
Spot#18 – Sand hills – 01 arrivals / 07R departures
WHERE This spot is similar to the spot#17 and can easily be reached from there, but you have a totally different view. From here you can see the south-west side of the airport, with the Jetair and Sabena Technics building in front of you.

By car or bus:
see spot#17. This spot can eventually also be reached from spot#19, but it’s a little climb up the hills and it might not always be easy to do so (bad weather…)
UPDATE: this spot is currently no longer accessible as a fence was built around the hills.
WHAT You will be able to see planes for take-off from runway 07R or coming in/lining up on rwy01.
TIME Sunrise till ~12:00 for rwy01 movements, a bit longer for rwy07R takeoff.
MISC. Just as for spot#17, it’s not really known if this spot will be long available still, since there are ongoing works at the sand hills. In short, the situation can change at any time. Heat-haze can be an issue on hot days.
Prepare to have fence in your shots if you absolutely want sideshots. If not, expect really nice pics with a pretty cool backdrop (Zaventem village, the Atomium, airport terminal etc.).
Nothing near this place so take whatever you need. Bushes in the vicinity, if nature calls…
FOCAL LENGTH 100-400mm (JetairFly = 220mm, Ethiopian = 165mm, Delta = 175mm, Tarom = 270mm)
Spot#19 – “de boskes” – 01 arrivals & departures / 07R departures
WHERE This spot is located at the edge of a farmer’s field, close to the fence at the threshold of rwy01. There is a little open space where you have a clear overview of the activities. You’re located a few meters above the runway level.

By car:
a little tough to explain in words how to reach the spot, but just program Zeven Tommen, 1930 Zaventem in your GPS (coordinates 50°53’04.0″N 4°29’18.0″E) and you’ll end up near the parking place for this spot. From there it’s a 5min walk to the spot itself. Check the black line on the map how to reach it.

By bus from the airport:
take bus 830 to Groenendaal and get off at bus stop Zaventem Imbroekstraat. From here it’s a 10min walk to the spot.
WHAT You can see all movements on rwy01 and also the planes taking off on rwy07R.
TIME Sunrise till ~12:00 for rwy01 movements, a bit longer for rwy07R takeoff.
MISC. Heat-haze can be an issue for the 07R departure shots. This place can be really crowded on sunny days and most like to take a ladder to avoid the fence in the pictures for rwy01 arrival shots (especially the heavies).
Please respect the farmer’s field and don’t walk in the middle of it but use the edge to walk around it.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-400mm (KLM = 130mm, LOT = 310mm, TAP & Jet Airways = 300mm)
Spot#20 – Mabtinusweg – 01 arrivals
WHERE This spot is located in a car-free path, near the Zeven Tommen. Position yourself along the path to find your prefered angle.

By car or bus:
see spot#19. It’s the same path as towards spot#19 but take the little path to your right once you pass the second railway bridge.
WHAT You can see arrivals on rwy01.
TIME From sunrise till noon.
MISC. There is nothing near this place, so bring along whatever you need.
During weekends this path is often used by joggers/bikers so try to stay on the side.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-300mm (Cargo B = 300mm, TAP = 70mm)
Spot#21 – Zeven Tommen – 01 arrivals
WHERE This spot is located along the Zeven Tommen.

By car or bus:
see spot#19.
WHAT You can see arrivals on rwy01.
TIME Late afternoon till sundown.
MISC. There is nothing near this place, so bring along whatever you need. Some service stations along the Leuvensesteenweg (southbound from here), in case needed.
You can also position yourself along the wall of the Zaventem cemetery, the shots are pretty similar, but you have less people/cars/bikes passing by and you’re a bit further off.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-400mm (747 = 80mm, KLM = 135mm, Freebird = 300mm, JetairFly = 400mm)


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7 thoughts on “Brussels Airport Spotting Guide

    1. BjörnBjörn

      Hi Sam,

      Indeed, I have read several sources confirming the same. As mentioned, the future of these spots has always been uncertain. I will adapt the guide for now and if the situation changes, we’ll update it again.

      Thanks for the info!
      Björn

  1. Christian

    Hi Björn, thanks for this really detailed spotting guide. As the wind came from the “correct” direction today I tried my best at position #18 on the sand hills. It was quite a fantastic view on to rwy 01 and 07. Due to the foggy weather today I was not able to get a lucky shot with the Atomium in the background but that’s why I have a good reason to come back ;0)
    Your guide was really helpful to me and all your work on this is much appreciated.
    Greetings from Cologne

  2. Yuri

    Hello,

    Just a small question: can you already go back again at the sand hills for the movements of 01/07R? They were closed for the RWY works during summer.

    Cheers,
    Yuri

  3. Alan Jackson

    Hello Björn

    I’m looking at a wee trip to Brussels Int for the day from next Tuesday. I will be on foot so it deppends on the weather .

    Any problems on the car parks and also would it be safe to say any place airside rather than going through arrivals

    Yours
    Alan

    BHD

    1. BjörnBjörn Post author

      Hi Alan,

      There is absolutely no issue being on the parkings. I never heard of anybody getting in trouble for spotting over there. Just respect the place and you’ll be safe.

      Spotting airside is however, not really possible, unless you’re happy with pics through dirty glass 🙂

      Cheers & happy spotting!
      Björn

  4. Nishant Deshpande

    Hello Björn.

    Thank you for this detailed guide for BRU. I am sure it involved lot of hard work to put it all on paper.

    Cheers!

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