Leipzig/Halle Airport Spotting Guide

The Leipzig/Halle Airport is situated 16 km northwest of the city of Leipzig which means a 25 minutes ride by train or about 20 minutes drive if you travel by car. The airport in Saxony is mainly famous for its freight traffic and is a hub for DHL. But it  also handels a few international flights within Europe or to holiday destinations. The freight hub is perfectly located next to the federal highways A9 which connects Berlin with Munich via Nuremburg and the A14 which mainly serves the north and east of Germany enabling freight companies to send their cargo from Germany to the world using the astonishingly big Leipzig Airport.
Not to disregard are 2.3 million passengers who travel through LEJ every year: It’s not just freight what makes the airport busy, it also serves Central Germany (mainly Saxony) as the gateway to their holidays. Condor, Air Berlin, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Germanwings, SunExpress, Corendon and many more offer regular services to European metropolises or holiday destinations including Bulgaria, Turkey or Tunesia.

Being the 13th busiest airport in Germany measured by passenger numbers is still some room for improvement but in terms of air cargo, Leipzig ranks second behind Frankfurt.

For more infromation about the traffic you can have a look on https://www.nicos-spotterseite.de/ where you can find a very good freighter flightplan and sometimes news to rare visitors, too.
For exact information about the the light conditions you can use http://suncalc.net/#/51.4221,12.2204,14/2017.07.23/13:30.

Written by Severin Hackenberger (Regular Visitor)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Informations    Runways 08L/26R 08R/26L
3.600m x 45m (11.811ft) 3.600 x 60m (11.811ft)
Terminals Terminal A Terminal B
General Aviation only All Passenger flights (including rare Military flights)
Spotting Informations  Ladder Only necessary at a few locations.
Car Recommended as locations are far apart and switching runway will take very long otherwise. The public transport around Leipzig Airport is very poor.
Restrooms Gas stations and restaurants around the airport. Restrooms are also available inside the terminal buildings.
Drinks/Food Around the airport are a few restaurants or you can get some snacks in the supermarkets.
Hotels There are just a few motels/hotels.
Season We recommend visiting the airport during the summer as the air cargo jets are rather to be encountered at late evening. As sun sets significantly later in the months around June, spotting is more efficient then.
Runway Usage  08L/26R Most of the passangers flights use this runway and almost all freighters which park at the VDA Technics arrive/depart on this runway.

My opinion (collected during 4 visits): This runway is used by DHL (Arrivals), all PAX aircrafts and VDA Freighters.

08R/26L Almost all Kalitta and DHL freighters use this runway and most of the other freighters which park at the WCC.

My opinion (collected during 4 visits): This runway is used by DHL (Departures), Polar and Southern Air Freighters, MNG Cargo and AeroLogic.

Spot #1 – Visitorhill – Activities on RWY08L/26R
WHERE From the terminal follow the S8a, which becomes the Schkeuditzer Straße later on, until Freiroda. After you’ve passed this little village, you will get to a big crossing. Turn left onto the S1 and drive north. You will pass the runwaylights pretty soon and after about 800m you will have to turn left agian, onto the Ernst-Thälmann-Straße. Follow this street until you can see a big dome on the left. Park your car next to it and climb up on the stairs or take the access for disabled.
WHAT All activities on RWY 08L/26R.
TIME In the summer from sunrise until 8 am and from 5.30 pm until sunset. In winter you’ll only have backlit.
MISC. If you park by the roadside you’ll maybe have troubles with police which appear very rare anyway. I parked my car always by the roadside and I have never yet experienced any problems, but it’s important to draw attention to it. No restaurants, restrooms or similar stuff available there, take with you what you need! In the summer months you’ll maybe have heathaze here.
FOCAL LENGTH 70 – 350mm

B737 = 200mm / An-225 (Nr. 1) = 150mm / An-225 (Nr. 2) = 80mm


Spot #2 – Sidewalk – Arrivals on RWY26R
WHERE Follow the S8a, which becomes the Schkeuditzer Straße later on, until Freiroda. After you’ve passed this little village, you will get to a big crssing. Turn left onto the S1 and drive north. After you have passed the runwaylights turn right into the “K7432”. Park your car on the right and go back to the sidewalk of the S1 (marked on the map). Choose your favourite position, this depends on the view you like the most!
WHAT Arrivals on runway 26R only.
TIME In summer almost the whole day as you can move to the opposite side of the runway when the sun has turned around. In the winter months from sunrise till sunset.
MISC. If possible stay away from the street, because some drivers are driving very fast and dangerous there. Nothing nearby, so take with you what you need!
FOCAL LENGTH 100 – 250mm

A320 = 145mm / A320 = 190mm


Spot #3 – Terminaldriveway – Taxiing/Arrivals/Departures on or to RWY08L/26R
WHERE This position is quite difficult to discribe. But if you are inside the terminal, walk to the northern end and exit the terminal there. Then use the bridge to cross the A14 and walk to the sidewalk on your left (marked on the map).
WHAT Departures and arrivals on the northern runway (08L/26R) as well as taxiing aircrafts.
TIME Runway and parallel taxiways have light from 8am till 5pm in the summer and in the winter months from sunrise till sunset.
MISC. In the summer you will have worse heathaze on the runway 8 like on my example picture). Everything you need is inside the terminal (like restrooms, restaurants and supermarkets).
FOCAL LENGTH 100 – 250mm

An-22 (Nr. 1) = 145mm / An-22 (Nr. 2) = 190mm

Spot #4 – VDA Technics – Parked planes infront of the Hangar
WHERE If you come from the Terminal, drive northwards and then go down the driveway. Then turn right onto Towerstrasse and follow this road for about 200m. Turn left into a small road which leads you to a gate. Park your car nearby, but take to care of not Blocking the gate (because it’s an emergency entrance for firefighters). You can take pictures from the gate or you can use the big parkingplace on your right.

Therefor you have to walk down the Towerstrasse another 100m and then enter the parkingarea by Using another gate on your left. There you can choose your favourite position, this depends on the view you like the most!

WHAT This spot is very useful for cargo airplanes parked infront or next to the VDA Technics hangar, because they are usually parked in a good angle.
TIME The planes are usally parked like the ones on my example pictures, so you will have light from around 12:30 (midday). It’s rare, but if a freighter is parked parallel to the runway you’ll have light from 8am till 5pm in the summer and in the winter months from sunrise till sunset.
MISC. Terminal is just next to you so you can get snacks/drinks there. Restrooms can be found there, too.
Ladder not needed, but very useful (otherwise your pictures will may be vignetted).
FOCAL LENGTH 70 – 150mm

An-124 (old c/s) = 100mm  / IL-76 (Face to Face) = 105mm / IL-76 = 120mm / An-22 = 85mm / An-22 (close up) = 155mm / An-124 (new c/s) = 85mm


Spot #5 – Petrol tanks – Parked planes on A1 West + taxiing planes from/to RWY08L/26R
WHERE If you come out of the terminal, follow the S8a into western direction (heading to the B6). After 500m you will croos a bridge and just after this you see some petrol tanks and buildings on your left. Exit the S8a there and follow the dirty path (on the right side of the tanks) until you get to the fence, where the pictures are taken from.
WHAT Planes parked on A1 West and taxiing planes from/to runway 08L/26R, if they use the western bridge
TIME For parked and taxiing planes from around 1.15pm till sunset.
MISC. Ladder is necessary otherwise the images will be vignetted. The Terminal is just around 500m away, so you can get snacks/drinks there. Restrooms can be found there, too.
FOCAL LENGTH 24 – 200mm

An-12 (Cavok) = 190mm / An-12 (Ukraine Air Alliance) = 185mm

Spot #6 – Visitorterrace – Activities on RWY08R/26L + activities on the southern part of the airport
WHERE The old tower is used as the visitor terrace today. It’s a pretty high red building which is located between the passanger terminal and the GAT. It’s pretty difficult to discribe how to get to this spot, but the building can be easily found if you follow the signs.
WHAT Departures and arrivals on the southern runway (08R/26L) as well as taxiing aircrafts on the southern part of the airport. All activities DHL can be seen from here as well.
TIME In the summer from sunrise until 8 am and from 5.30 pm until sunset. In winter you’ll only have backlit.
MISC. You can either take the stairs or the elevator, this one is large enough for a group of people or disabled persons in a wheelchair. If you’ve entered the tower once, you can’t leave it without any further payment, so if you wanted to check the schedule inside the terminal, you need to pay again down at the entrance. There are no shops/restrooms on the top of the terrace. In the summer you’ll probably have heathaze most of the time.
FOCAL LENGTH 120 – 300mm

B757 = 300mm / A320 = 130mm / ERJ-190 = 155mm

Spot #7 – World Cargo Center – Arrivals RWY08R + Departures RWY26L + Planes parked on WCC area
WHERE If you come out of the terminal, follow the S8a into western direction (heading to the B6). The street leads you to the southern side of the airport, that’s why you have to exit the S8a after about 4km. Turn left into a unnamed road which leads you to a lot of parking slots. Park your car somewhere there, but take care of not Using reserved slots. For parked planes you have to walk through the grasses to the fence and for landing/departing aircrafts you should stay on the parking area, because from there you have a good view.
WHAT Arrivals on runway 08R and Departures on runway 26L. Also planes which are parked on the WCC area.
TIME On the runway you’ll have light from 11am till sunset (in the summer) and in the winter months from around 9am till sunset. For the parked planes it depens on the way they are parked, but for example the freighters on my example pictures were parked parallel to the runway (so the light times were valid for them as well).
MISC. There is McDonalds nearby, there you find food and restrooms. In the summer you should take care of Spiders, Beetles or other (maybe dangerous) insects, because the grasses might be quit high.

Ladder unnecessary, because the fence is min. 2 meter tall. Some lenses are to wide for the fence, so pictures are vignetted a bit anyway…

FOCAL LENGTH 18 – 300mm

B747 = 140mm / B747 = 150mm / B737 = 40mm / An-26 = 120mm / An-26 (close up) = 300mm

Arrivals on RWY08R:

Ramp:

Spot #8 – DHL Hill – Arrivals RWY26L + Line-up’s 26L
WHERE If you come out of the terminal, follow the S8a into eastern direction (heading to Freiroda). Just after you crossed two “planebridges” turn left (NOT to A14). Follow this road for about 1km then exit the roundabout at its 3rd exit (into Radefelder Alle). After about 1km turn right into Gesnerstraße. Follow this little road for 1km, then you should see a little hill on your right. Park your car somewhere there and climb this hill.
WHAT Arrivals on runway 26L and planes which are lining up on runway 26L (often Freighters).
TIME In summer days from around 9am till 6pm. In the winter months from sunrise till sunset.
MISC. There is nothing really nearby, so bring with you what you need. In the summer you should take care of Spiders, Beetles or other (maybe dangerous) insects, because the grasses might be quit high. Ladder not needed. In Summer you might have heathaze!
FOCAL LENGTH 200 – 400mm

B777 = 275mm / An-124 = 250mm / B747 = 260mm


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One thought on “Leipzig/Halle Airport Spotting Guide

  1. nicht wichtig

    Hi. Am Punkt 5 kann man den eingezeichneten Weg bis zum Zaun fahren und dort parken. Es sind keine Verbotsschilder zu sehen oder erkennbar.

    Es fehlt noch einer der meist genutzten Punkte unter Einheimischen auch “Gate63” genannt. In Freiroda (Wellerstraße) am PMS Werksgelände links rein (Achtung Halteverbot…aber kein Einfahrverbot mehr). Am Ende dieser asphaltierten Straße Blick auf TWY E8 (80m), E7 (215m),TWY C (80m) und RWY26R/08L (440m) Distanz. Leiter ist von nöten.

    Die Securities verlangen einen Abstand von 3m vom Zaun aus sicherheitsgründen und weisen dich darauf hin bei Nichtbeachtung!

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    Hi. @Point 5 you can drive your Car the drawed red line until the Fenceline. There are no Signs of Restrictions.

    There is another very often used Photopoint. Insiders called “Gate63”. You drive the S8a to Freiroda´s Wellerstraße and left @ “PMS Building” into the Road until its end. There are Restrictions! You schould´nt stop your Car normally. You have a look on your ladder to TWY´s E8 (80m), E7 (215m), C (80m) and RWY 26R/08L (440m) of Distance.

    Another very important Information. The Securities want you to keep a distance of 3m from the Fenceline outside the Airportrange and will adwise you to this!!!

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