Milan Malpensa Spotting Guide

Milan Malpensa International Airport was one of the two hub of Alitalia since 31 march 2008 then moved 72% to Rome Fiumicino. Malpensa is the second busiest airport in Italy with two runways and two Terminals. Terminal 2 is used exclusive by Easyjet while all other carriers based at Terminal 1 and its three satellites. There is also a cargo terminal called CargoCity which currently handles over 435’000 tons of traffic annually. The airport is located 40 kilometres northwest of central Milan. Malpensa handling in 2014 18’851’238 passengers.

The most interesting traffic at MXP is cargo flights (Air BridgeCargo, Asiana, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, DHL, Egyptair, Etihad, Emirates, Lufthansa, Fedex, Korean, Nippon, Qatar, Royal Air Marco, Saudia, Silk Way, Swiftair, ULS Cargo and Turkish) mostly use A33F, B77F and B74F.

The main traffic is generated by Easyjet followed by Meridiana, Blue Panorama, Neos and Alitalia. Nearly all European Full Carriers serving Milan Malpensa. North America is served by American Airlines, Alitalia, Delta Airlines, Ethiad, Emirates and United Airlines. From South America Blue Panorama, Neos, Tam And Lan serve MXP. The Middle East and Asia is served by Air India, Alitalia, Azerbaijan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, ELAL, Emirates, Iran Air, Mahan Air, Middle East  Airlines, Oman Air, PIA, Qatar, Saudia, Thai Airways and Uzbekistan Airlines. Afrika is served by Easyjet, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Meridiana, Neos,Royal Air Maroc and Tunisair.

During the Summer also many Charter Carriers serving MXP including Air Cairo, Albastar, Europe Airpost, Freebird, Mistral Air, Neos, Nesma Airlines, Tunisair and Smartlynx.

Due to lack of periods there are also some rush hours with long breaks inbetween, that can also cause that some Planes use the 35L runway for landings even it’s not in Use.

Written by Jeremy Denton and Patrick (visited October 2014 and August 2015)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Information    Runways 17L / 35R 17R / 35L
3’900m (12’861ft) 3’900m (12’861ft)
Asphalt Asphalt
Terminals Terminal 1A/B/C Terminal 2
T 1A: domestic and intra-Schengen flightsT 1B + C: non-Schengen and intercontinental flights EasyJet Airlines
Spotting Information Ladder Not necessary
Car Necessary
Restrooms Available only at the airport.
Drinks/Food Available only at the airport.
Hotels Holiday Inn Express, Idea Hotel Milano and First Hotel Malpensa are closed to the airport.
Season I suggest April – September, chance of bad weather in winter is pretty high.
Runway Usage  17L / 35R & 17R / 35L
They seems to use mostly runways 35, one for arrivals and one for the departures. Every day, from 14:30, they change the runways configuration so the runway who handled all departures is now in use for the arrivals and the other way round.

Spot #1 – Ferno Playground
WHERE If you came by the highway A4, take direction Malpensa and exit to Oleggio, Busto Arsizio. Take direction Busto and Ferno. Take the road on the left direction parking Ferno, continue strait for some minutes then turn on the left direction Vissola and first on the right direction Ferno. Continue strait until you’ll see a parking with fences of the airport.
WHAT Excellent spot for landings and departures on runway 35R. You can also have pictures of take-off and arrivals from runway 35L but if you still have a focal length over 450mm. Be careful also with the heat haze. You have two possibilities to make pictures at this spot. The first is to have a ladder next to the fences and spot between the fence and the barbed. The second point is to be on a small hill next to the trees where you park your car and here you don’t need to have a ladder.
TIME From the sunrise until 11:30-11:45.
MISC. Bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH Rwy35L (380mm = 744, 420mm = 332, 460mm = 763, 510mm = 738)Rwy35R (116mm = 773, 140mm = 744, 290mm = G550, 500mm = Agusta)

Spot #2 – Arrivals 35R Afternoon
WHERE From spot 1, take the same previous road then at the intersection, take on the right and park your car directly on the right next to the fences. Then walk on the grass for some meters.
WHAT Good spot for landings rwy35R in the afternoon.
TIME From 13:00 until the end of the day.
MISC. Bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH 116mm = 772 / 210mm = 320 / 240mm = 145

Spot #3 – Arrivals 35L Afternoon
WHERE From spot 2, continue the road next to the airport fences, then take the first way on your right. Park your car here but correctly because your are just next to the road and to an emergency exit from the airport.
WHAT Good spot for landings rwy35L in the afternoon.
TIME From 13:00 until the end of the day.
MISC. Bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH 116mm = 744 / 140mm = 332 / 210mm = 738

Spot #4 – Arrivals 17L Afternoon
WHERE From the spot 3, take direction Terminal 2, Easyjet. Before your arrived at the T2, take the first road on the left, continue strait and park your car next to the road before the security entrance.
WHAT Good spot for landings rwy37L in the afternoon.
TIME From 13:00 until the end of the day.
MISC. Bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH 95mm = 332 / 170mm = DH8 / 380mm = Piaggio 180

Spot #5 – 35R morning Touchdown
WHERE Park at the parking spot of Spot 1. Follow the fence northbound until you’re at the first corner then turn left past the fire station and then walk to the runway along the fence turn right and walk a few hundred meter then you’re on the touchdownzone height.
WHAT Good spot for landings rwy35R in the morning for touchdowns. Here you need a high stepladder at least 6 steps
TIME From sunrise till 12:00.
MISC. Bring with you what you need.
Spot #6 – 35L morning arrival
WHERE From Spot 1 or 2 follow the street straight to the city of Lonate Pozzolo. At the stop sign turn right and the next right again into the Via Gaggio. Park at the side of the street and start spotting.
WHAT Good spot for landings rwy35R in the afternoon.
TIME From sunrise till 12:00.
MISC. Bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH 250-400mm
Spot #7 – Arrivals 35R evening
WHERE At the stop sign don´t turn right to reach spot #6. Instead turn right and drive always straight for a couple approximate 1,5km. The spot is on the left at the Via Vittorio Veneto.
WHAT Good spot for landings rwy35R in the evening.
TIME From 14:00 till sunset.
MISC. Bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH 250-400mm

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10 thoughts on “Milan Malpensa Spotting Guide

    1. JulianJulian

      Hi, there is a bus station in Ferno, the next village to the spots. But you still have to walk from there a long way.
      Check google maps for the bus stop in Ferno.


  1. Yuri


    Just a small question: is it possible to spot inside the airport in the terminal or so?


    1. JeremyJeremy Post author

      Dear Dan,

      I have asked local spotters about the scanners and it’s not allowed officially. Anyway, scanners are largely use at MXP among the local spotters, they just try to not show off with the authorities and everything is fine. Keep a low profile with it.

      You can easily find flight plans on FlightStats or directly to Milan Malpensa Airport. If you would like to get special incoming aircraft, I suggest you to send an e-mail to: which is the local spotter website.

      Hoping to have answered your questions.

      Best regards
      Jeremy Denton

      1. Dan

        Thank’s a lot. Good informations. Usually I got the scanner in a pocket with small headphones attached. This summer I plan to go for 2 weeks in Italy and I hope to do some plane spotting in Milano, Bergamo and Verona. If you want information from Romania, feel free to ask.

  2. Joris Witsen

    Many thanks for this extensive and great guide, it helped me a lot!
    In addition to this guide: I recently visited Malpensa and found that a ladder is not really necessary at spot 1. There’s a little bit of elevated ground behind the parking spots and in front of the trees, from where you have a free view over the fence. On sunny weekends, this small space might be crowded with local spotters though! Alternatively, just past the playground at spot 1 trees have been cut and there’s now a steep slope with a good view over the fence.

    1. JeremyJeremy Post author

      Hi Joris,

      I’m happy that the guide helped you 🙂 Thanks for the update for the spot 1, I will mention it.

      Best regards

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