Lyon-Saint Exupéry Spotting Guide

The fourth biggest airport in France, Lyon St Exupéry, welcomed 8.5 Mio. passengers in 2013. The regional carrier HOP! has a big hub there and is responsible for the most movements especially during their rush hours (arrivals in the morning ~7-8 am, afternoon ~2-3 pm and evening ~6-7 pm). Other big players are Air Algerie, Air Méditerranée and Easyjet besides many charter operators and the common European carriers. Due to its closeness to the Mediterranean Sea and the beautiful weather in the summer, more charter operations takes place especially during this time.

Written by Jerome Bonniel, Julian Mittnacht & Patrick Weis / (last update February 2016)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Information Runways 18R/36L 18L/36R
4.000 m (13.124 ft) 2.670 m (8.762 ft)
Terminals Terminal 1 Terminal 2  Terminal 3
Air Algerie, Air Méditerranée, Transavia France, XL Airways France, Europe Airpost, other carriers Air France, HOP!, Lufthansa, other carriers  Lowcost Carriers
Spotting Information Ladder not necessary
Car Necessary for most spotting locations except #1. No public transport
Restrooms at the terminal
Drinks/Food at the terminal
Hotels Ibis and Kyriad Hotel next to the terminal
Season all year round/ at summer more Charter traffic
Runway Usage  18R/36L main runway for departures
18L/36R main runway for arrivals

Spot #1 – Crash Gate – Taxiway
WHERE The gate is located between a hangar, next to a stored Tristar, and the cargo area.
You can also walk from the terminal to this spot which takes 20-30 minutes. Exit the terminals and pass the left bridge which span the TGV track. Cross the big road to reach a smaller road which is leading to some smaller tanks. Pass these tanks and walk straight forward until you see the Ibis Hotel. Make a left turn and follow the Rue de Malte. Pass again the TGV track and always follow the street until you will see the Tristar and the hangar in the distance.
By car its almost the same way as by foot.
WHAT Usually this is a nice spot if 36 is in use for the departures as almost all aircrafts will pass your positions before reaching the holding point. Its possible that you miss some smaller/lighter planes as the use an earlier runway entrance. 36 arrivals are very tricky as there can be a lot of heat haze over the runway. The gate braces are big enough for your any camera lense.
TIME Is becoming a good spot in the afternoon until sunset
MISC. There is no shadow or something else. Restrooms are in the hotels.
FOCAL LENGTH 80 mm for an A320

Spot #2 – 18R/L arrivals and 18R depatures afternoon
WHERE From the airport follow the D517E street to Lyon Nord until you pass the bridge over the railroad. After a few hundred meters turn righ into a small street that brings you up to the fence. Park on the grass on the side of the road.
WHAT This spot is good for arrivals on runway 18L and 18R. Also you can take some 18R takeoffs. Steps are not necessary as you are on an elevated position here.
TIME Light conditions are prefect from 12/1 p.m.
MISC. There are some benchens, rubbish bins and some trees for shaddow
FOCAL LENGTH 100-400 mm
Spot #3 – 18R/L arrivals and 18R depatures
WHERE From spot 2 contiune the D517E and turn right at the first roundabout. If you follow the Rout the Cremieu there is dirt road parallel to the street between the approach path and the bridge crossing the A432. Follow this one until you see a bit higher plateu. Park your car at the side of the road and walk up the the plateau.
WHAT This spot is good for 18 R/L arrivals and 18R depature during the morning hours. As you are on a higher plateau then the fence no steps are necessary.
TIME Light conditions are good from sunrise till 12/1 p.m.
MISC. There is nothing here than the spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 100-400 mm
Spot #4 – Terminal 2 – Ramp
WHERE This one is airside located in Terminal 2 between the B and A gets. Just follow the signs to the A gates until you reach a big front of windows.
WHAT You get some aircrafts that passing by on the taxiway, leaving the runway or parked at the gates.
TIME Best time from the afternoon until sunset.
MISC. Everything you need within the Terminal.
FOCAL LENGTH 100-300 mm
Spot #5 – Field – 36 arrivals
WHERE From the airport get on the D29 and just follow the signs to Colombier-Saugnieu. Pass the approach path until you reach a industrial park. There turn left into the impasse de la Croix and after 500 meters you arrived at the spot. Its a dead end road!
WHAT Good spots for landing on both runways 36. Departures are possible but the light planes are already very high.
TIME From 06:00 until 12:00 during summer but be careful about heat haze
MISC. Nothing close to the spot, please bring what you need before coming at this spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 70mm – 300mm Spot #6 – Arrivals & departures rwy18L
WHERE In the village of Janneyrias, you must take the Departmental 124 that goes to the village of Saint Ours, once outside the village of Saint Ours take voice no way immediately to your right and continue on the stone path until the small promontory.
WHAT Good spot during morning when rwy18 tracks are in service. A stool is not compulsory but is a plus for this place.
TIME From 06:00 until 12:00 during summer but be careful about heat haze
MISC. Nothing close to the spot, please bring what you need before coming at this spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 400mm for a 320 and 300mm for a Boeing 777

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