Moscow Sheremetyevo Spotting Guide

Moscow Sheremetyevo is one of the three major airports (the other being Vnukovo and Domodedovo) serving Russia capital city. It is the second busiest airport in the country handling almost 34 million passengers in 2016. SVO is the major hub for the airline Aeroflot.

Other russian airlines, especially Nordwind, operating at this airport though most of their flights are charter flights. Furthermore, due to the SkyTeam membership of Aeroflot, most of the other SkyTeam carriers also fly to SVO in Moscow.  But the Aeroflot presence at this airport is extremely strong (due to some carriers flying to the other airports in the city) and they make up at least 90% of aircraft movements. If you are a bit lucky you can also catch some military movements, for example from Il-76s. In general though, you will see less of the old (and loud) russian airliners like Tu-134, Tu-154, or Yak-42 here in SVO in comparison to VKO or DME.

Spotting in general is becoming more and more popular in Russia and problems with the police should be the exception.

Written by Jan Seba, Cedric Valence and Clive Grant (Last Update 2017)

Rating Movements
Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Information Runways 07R/25L 07L/25R
3.700 m (12.139 ft) 3.550 m (11.647 ft)
Terminals Terminal C Terminals D+E Terminal F
Orenburg, Nordwind Aeroflot and SkyTeam carriers All other carriers
Spotting Information Ladder Not required
Car Would be useful, but driving in Russia is hard. But the main spots can also be reached by bus (but it takes a while), so it is not necessary.
Restrooms Inside the terminal.
Drinks/Food Inside terminal and lot of shops/fast food restaurants around the airport.
Hotels There are a few well known chain hotels at the airport.
Season Traffic is more interesting and the chance for good weather is higher during the summer season (April to October).
Runway Usage 07R/25L The main departure runway. Sometimes also handles a few arrivals.
07L/25R The main landing runway.

Spot #1 – Field – 25R Arrivals
WHERE If you are going to this location by public transport you have two options of getting to the airport. The quickest one is to use the Aeroexpress Train from Belorussky Railway Terminal. A much cheaper option is to go by Metro and Bus, using Bus 851 from Rechnoy Vokzal station or Bus 817 from Planernaya station. You will always arrive at the southern Terminals E/F, so you have to get onto another Bus from here. A bus runs around the airport and directly to spot.
WHAT You are perfectly situated for RWY 25R arrivals. If you notice something coming in on 25L, quickly run to Spot #2.
TIME In summer the light is good from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. In winter you can use it all day.
MISC. There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 200mm for an A320, 130mm for the Il96.

 Spot #2 – Field – 25L Arrivals
WHERE This spot is located very close to Spot #1. Basically just go south as far as possible (until you get to a fence next to the railway tracks) to get an acceptable angle for the arrivals.
WHAT Location for RWY 25L Arrivals.
TIME In summer the light is good from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. In winter you can use it all day.
MISC. There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 110mm for an A319, 60mm for a B772.
Spot #3 – Concrete Platform – 25R Arrivals Evening
WHERE The spot is also within easy walking distance of Spot #1. If you are going directly here, or want to get back from this spot, better use the bus stop “Civil Aviation University” / “Университет гражданской авиации”.
WHAT From here you can shoot the arrivals on RWY 25R in the evening. Stand on the concrete platform for that.
TIME Only good in late summer evenings from around 7 PM.
MISC. There is a convenience store a couple hundred meters to the west.
FOCAL LENGTH The distance to the approach is similar to Spot #1.


Spot #4 – Approach 07L / 07R on the morning along the street
WHERE Drive on the “Sheremet’evskoe shosse” till “Parshino” village. Then there is a large field to park your car. There is also a bus stop at this place. You’ll get the landings 07 there. There is a large street to the country and park there, you may stay in the car. There is a bus stop at the corner.
WHAT There is a place to take pictures of landings runways 07 in the morning time, along the street. From this point you may see all the departures runways 07 but not possible to take pictures due to the distance, the grass and the fences. Departures runways 25 are hight.
TIME Light is good from 8AM till 3PM.
MISC. There are some gaz stations a few minutes drive from there to buy some food or drinks on the same street.
FOCAL LENGTH You’ll use about 250mm for an A320 at 07R.




Spot #5 – Grass field for approach 07L and 07R
WHERE Drive on the “Sheremet’evskoe shosse” till “Parshino” village till when you see the approach lights. Park your car there and walk on the field on the opposite side of the airport. There is a bus stop at 200m direction the gaz station.
WHAT This is point 5 for approach 07L with a good light from 6pm till sunset in the summer months. You don’t see the departures and walk along the street a little further if 07R is used for landings.
TIME Only good in late summer evenings from around 7 PM.
MISC. You ll find a gaz station about 800m north on the main street to buy food or drinks.
FOCAL LENGTH Use 160mm for a B738.


Spot #6 – Ocean (Okeah) Restaurant, Terminal F – All movements on both runways and both southern taxiways
WHERE The Ocean (Okeah) Restaurant is on the fourth floor of Terminal F. To the right of TGI Friday’s, take the left hand lift up to the fourth floor and the restaurant is directly ahead; (the right hand lift doesn’t stop at the fourth floor). Alternatively, take the stairs to the left of the lifts
WHAT You can see and photograph almost all traffic from here when it’s on the move, whichever runway is in use, although obviously it’s through glass. Only traffic parked out of sight to the left at Terminal D or to the right of Terminal F is not visible. Heat haze for the northern runway is likely to be a problem.
TIME The restaurant opens at 9am and closes at 9pm. In the summer the light is good until mid/late afternoon; in the winter it should be good all day.
MISC. Even though the tables are made up like an expensive restaurant, prices are reasonable, so provided you buy an occasional coffee, cola or beer, it should be no problem to stay here all day. Meals are also good and not too expensive, though the selection is limited. It’s also fairly quiet for most of the day, so getting a table by the window should be no problem.
When aircraft are parked in front, beware of jet wash when taking photos of traffic passing behind.
FOCAL LENGTH A 50-300mm lens will cover most things including larger aircraft on the north runway. Smaller aircraft such as A320/737 traffic on the north runway would need a greater focal length, but heat haze is likely to be a problem. Also, the occasional 777-300 on the near taxiway probably needs about a 40mm focal length.

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