Malta Luqa Airport Spotting Guide

Malta – Europe’s fifth smallest state as measured by total size and counting a very negligible population of 450,000 people but in terms of airport, Malta’s Luqa Airport really muscles in with the ‘Big Ones’ in Europe! Exotic visitors sweetens your stay at Malta! Beside the normal traffic, there will sometimes come a great surprise along, visiting Malta for their famous maintenance services. Check out the guide for this marvellous airport. Malta Airport was originally used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Luqa RAF Station was an important airfield during the colonial era, better known as the ‘Malta Siege’. After Malta has become independent, the Royal Air Force retrenched day by day and the Maltese Islands spread their wings, the airport underwent a huge refurbishment, marking a fresh start of the Maltese aviation history. Few years prior to the refurbishment in 1992, Malta’s first own airline was founded named Air Malta. The rather small airline from the small Islands is MLA’s most important carrier ever since that. Emirates is Malta’s only long distance service connecting the islands with the world via Dubai. Ryanair has a base at MLA linking Europe with daily flights mainly to the UK, Italy and Scandinavia. During summer, Malta is busiest as many vacationers spend their holidays there. A website with unique arrivals and departures can be found here.

Written by Marlin & Jonas Lehmann and Jeremy Denton (Last update June 2016)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Information Runways 13/31 05/23
2.377m (7,799ft) 3.544m (11,627ft)
Spotting Information Ladder No, there is no need for it
Car Not really required as there is a public transport system to almost all photo spots. By car please note that cars drive on the left hand side of the road on every Maltese Islands.
Restrooms Available at all publicly accessible buildings like restaurants or inside the terminal building
Drinks/Food There are supermarkets (twice a Lidl and smaller supermarket chains) nearby the airport and food is available inside the airport’s terminals. There are fast food restaurants next to the terminal (McDonald’s)
Hotels There are not many hotels nearby the airport, you can find hotels belonging to all classes in Valletta, Raħal Ġdid, Birżebbuġa and Marsaxlokk.
Season Malta is busiest during summer seasons as many vacationers spend their holidays here. During the summer season, heat haze can be a problem as temperatures up to 35°C are expected.
Runway Usage 13/31 Depends on the wind direction. Heavies usually take-off from this runway as this one provides a longer take-off roll. Not in use for landings, when northeasterlies are blowing strong.
05/23 Depends on the wind direction. When the northeasterlies are blowing strong which happens quite often, runway 23 will be used for landings.

Spot #1 – Observation Deck
WHERE There is a visitor terrace in the third floor of the airports terminal offering a marvellous view onto the airports airfield. Take the lift next to the security check to the third floor. When you have arrived there, the cafe is already visible.
WHAT All airfield operations, runway view is provided.
TIME On cloudy days or in the mornings until approx 1145-1200 in the summer season.
MISC. Please note that the view from this visitor terrace is glazed but the glass is white and clear – no color casts.
FOCAL LENGTH 18-500mm

Spot #2 – Spotter tower
WHERE A tower which has especially been established for the spotters offers a good view onto the airport’s runway. It is located south of the runway beside the communication road to Ħal Kirkop. You can park your car on either side of the road. When coming from the airport drive thru the tunnel underneath the runway which connects Ħal Luqa and Ħal Kirkop. After the tunnel take the first exit and the tower will appear on the left side after approximately 300m. If you don’t have a car, you can also go by bus departing from Ajruport 3 station and exiting the bus at Mina. Bus lines can be checked in the map above.
WHAT Almost all operations on the airfield east and all runway ops of RWY13/31.
TIME From about 10am to sunset in winters and from noon until sunset in summer months.
MISC. There is nothing nearby this point, a LIDL is located 1.5km (2min journey) where you can buy groceries and snacks. (Triq San Ġwann, Ħal Safi). Please dispose your waste directly at the spotting location, trash bins are provided there.
FOCAL LENGTH 55-300mm

Spot #3 – LIDL parking Ħal Luqa
WHERE The spot is located on the LIDL car park in Ħal Luqa.
WHAT Arrivals coming into runway 23 which happens when northeasterlies are blowing strongly.
TIME During all day in winter – Summer from sunrise to late noon
MISC. Food available inside the LIDL grocery store.
FOCAL LENGTH 55-300mm
Spot #4 – Underneath runway 23 approach path
WHERE You can take bodyshots of arriving airplanes which are coming into runway 23 from a lay-by located left hand side of the road, right next to ‘Luqa Monument’. When coming from the airport take Vjal L-Avjazzjoni (becomes Triq San Tumas during the journey) for about  2.5km. A roundabout (Luqa Monument on it) will appear after that 2.5km – take its first exit and turn left into the lay-by immediately after that.
WHAT Arrivals into Runway 23
TIME Best light conditions are from sunrise until late noon in summer and nearly all day long in winter.
MISC. Do not block the entry of this lay-by as a logistics company uses this lay-by as a storage of their cars. You can also go there by bus. Check the map for further details.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-300mm
Spot #5 – Approach runway 13
WHERE From Triq Ta’ Ħal Farruġ, arriving planes which will land on 13 can be photographed. When coming from the airport take Vjal L-Avjazzjoni (becomes Triq San Tumas and Triq Ħal Qormi during that 4km journey) for about 4.5km and then turn left into Triq Ta’ Ħal Farruġ. Follow the street course for about 1km the lay-by will appear on the left side. Park your car here and walk down the street back (direction where you have come from). Choose an appropriate angle.
WHAT All arrivals of runway 13.
TIME On cloudy days or in the morning
MISC. Be careful. You are directly beside to a clearway when walking down the road (Triq Ta’ Ħal Farruġ).
FOCAL LENGTH 70-300mm
Spot #6 – North Storage (Triq Ta’ Ħal Farruġ)
WHERE There is a lay-by which was especially set-up for spotters enabling you to photograph the aircrafts being parked at the north storage. There are currently lots of planes from Libya which escaped their home that they’re not going to be destroyed by the war. When coming from the airport take Vjal L-Avjazzjoni (becomes Triq San Tumas and Triq Ħal Qormi during that 4km journey) for about 4.5km and then turn left into Triq Ta’ Ħal Farruġ. Follow the street course for about 1km and the lay-by will appear on the left side.
WHAT Stored airplanes on apron north. (Update: As of 23JAN15, most of the Libyan aircrafts (which you can see on the pictures) have left for their home base.)
TIME In the evening
MISC. Holes are made into the fence
FOCAL LENGTH 70-300mm


Spot #7 – Apron 4
WHERE The Apron 4 is located next to Lufthansa Malta Technic next to the Monte Christo Estates restaurant on the “Triq Hal Farrug” road.
WHAT Departures from runway 23 and stored aircrafts. VIP jets next to the Lufthansa Technic hangar can be photographed as well. This spot is good as you get some holes every each meters that you can put your camera throw it and get the 95% of the aircraft there’s.
TIME Best light conditions are in the evening prior to sunset.
MISC. Monte Christo Estates restaurant.
FOCAL LENGTH 25-300mm

Spot #8 – Medavia hangars
WHERE A gate near the Medavia hangars enables you to photograph the aircraft parked up in front of the maintenance hangar. When coming from Spot 2, follow the street course until the first roundabout and take the second exit. You can already see the gate from there.
WHAT Parked airplanes in front of the Medavia hangars.
TIME Best light conditions are from afternoon until evening.
MISC. Security checks this area regularly. Behave correctly.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-300mm
Spot #9 – Along Triq Hal Far street
WHERE Along Triq Hal Far street, at 5 minutes walk from terminal, you’ll walk along the fence. There are officials holes in the fence at this place
WHAT You may take pictures of airplaines on the ramp, taxi to the gates, taxi from the gates to runway 31 and all movements runway 31.
TIME Best light conditions are from sunrise till 11AM for the runway and till about 2PM but only for airplanes on the taxiway.
MISC. Park your car at the Airport’s parking. If you join by bus stop at Airport’s terminal. Then walk direction the parking and join the external street. You’ll arrive at the spotting place in 5 minutes.
FOCAL LENGTH Taxi : 737 full at 60mm

Runway : 737 full at 150mm

Samples of airplanes on the taxiway

Samples of activity runway 31

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