Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau Spotting Guide

Montreal is Canada’s largest, in the province of Quebec. Located 15km west of the city, the Pierre-Elliott Trudeau owes its name to a popular politician who was twice prime minister and who undertook significant changes in its terms. The complex, located in the small city of Dorval, has a large terminal located west oriented two-24L 06R and 24R-06L which it is intersected by a shorter 28-10 parallel tracks. In the center of the two parallel tracks maintenance center Air Canada.

Always between two parallel but to the east is the factory Bombardier aircraft manufacturing with assembly private planes like “Challenger” chain. Southeast is a small general aviation terminal and messaging, with some specific flights including air bridge to the northern city carrying labor mines. The runway use is determined by the wind, 24L-06R generally used for departures, 24R-06L for arrivals. The 28-10 are rarely used and demand for small regional aircraft if a strong wind dictates. Airlines Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Jazz, Jetz, Air Canada Red and Air Transat have established their base in Montreal, as the charters Sunwings and Westjet. Other companies Raglan, First Air, Air Inuit, Air and Canadian North Creebeq also operate regular flights from the ground. From the USA, American, United, Delta insure their rotations using models “short haul”.
Long distance flights mainly from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa are operated by Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Moroc, Air Algerie and Syphax. There are no pure cargo business, except occasionally flights transporting heavy equipment for the needs of the Bombardier plant. The freight operations are concentrated in Mirabel, the old airport. Perspective traffic, a rush of departures was observed in the morning between 7 and 9 with regional companies. Then from 11am these flights return to mingling with many long-haul and large aircraft. Between 15 and 18h are incessant departures as small as large appliances and the day ends with the return of the regional fleet until the nightfall. Throughout the day, business flights are added as test flights of new aircraft manufactured by Bombardier on the site and deliveries.

Written by Cédric Valence (visited May 2015) and Severin Hackenberger (Spot 8)

Rating Movements Visitor Rating
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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Informations Runways 06L/24R 06R/24L 10/28
3.353 m (11,000 ft) 2.926 m (9,600 ft) 2.134 m (7,000 ft)
Terminals Terminal A Terminal C
Air Canada, Air Transat, Westjet, Sunwing, All Carriers Air Canada, Air Transat, Westjet, Sunwing American, Delta, United
Spotting Informations Ladder Not necessery but beter for points1, 3 and 5
Car  You need a car to go to 4, 5 and 6. If you don’t stay at Holliday inn Express you need a car to join 1, 2 and 3.
Restrooms Only availlable at airport for point 8
Drinks/Food Only availlable at airport for point 8
Hotels Holliday Inn Express about 10min walk from points 1, 2 and 3, free shuttle to/from airport
Season Winter ar very cold with snow, best from may to september.
Runway Usage  06L/24R Mainly for arrivals
06R/24L Departures and some local arrivals
10/28 Light aviation and regional flights

Spot #1 and 2 – End of Avenue Jenkins
WHERE At the end of Avenue Jenkins, there is a large field. It’s possible to join the fence and take pictures of movements on 24L-06R at point n°1. It’s not absolutely necessary because you’re over the fence, but need a chair or a little ladder if you want to take pictures without the fence in the bottom of your shot.You may park your car along the street.
WHAT It’s spossible to take pictures or arrivals and departures on runway 06R, there is a fantastic background with the airport and the Canadair hangars. You also may take pictures of the taxi to 24L but there are heat hases due to the runway at the front. For the departures 24L, prefer walking to point n°2, there is a stone mont and climb to take good pictures of departures with good degagement. Heavy airplanes are in a good angle but light are a little hight. park alont the street.
TIME From sunrise till 13:00
MISC. There is no toilet and no shop, take your dispositions before going there.
FOCAL LENGTH A320 @ 65mm at point 1 and 180mm at point 2.

Examples @ point 1: Arrivals and departures runway 06R

Examples @ point 2: departures 24L from the large field close of the street

 Spot #3 – Park Jacques-de-Lesseps
WHERE At the end of 55th Avenue. This is the official spotting point of Montreal.
WHAT Opend in may 2014, there is a parking and a great accomodation with bleachers to sit with familly and see the airplanes’s activity on runway 06R-24L. Unfortunately, there is the fence just in front of you. It’s impossible to take shots over the fence without a long ladder. If you decide to join the fence there with your ladder, you’ll be in the camera of ‘comons anthusiasts’ sit on the bleachers and it’s not very comfortable.
TIME From sunrise till lunch time
MISC. Park along the street. There is no toilet and no shop, take your dispositions before going there.
FOCAL LENGTH A320 @ +- 65mm

Examples of departures 24L, arrivals and departures 06R are in the fence.

All runway 20 movements.

  Spot #4 – Approach 24R
WHERE Drive to Boulevard Côte-Vertu and then turn right into the Rue Percival and you’ll arrive at the approach lights of runway 24R. Park on the road in construction.
WHAT Approach 24R only
TIME Morning until noon. You may walk in the other side of lights when the sun turned.
MISC. There is no toilet and no shop, take your dispositions before going there.
FOCAL LENGTH Use 50mm for a 777 and 100mm for A320.
Spot #5 – Chemin Saint-François
WHERE At the end of Chemin Saint-François you may take pictures in the afternoom in the summertime. Its a dead end road and you can easily park along the road.
WHAT Departures 06L are great and in case of arrival 24R airplanes usually use a tawiway before. Only heavy airplanes ride on the runway in front of you. Departures 24R are fantastic with the city in the background. A ladder is not really needed as the fence is not that high.
TIME  From 3PM till sunset in the summer
MISC. There is no toilet and no shop, take your dispositions before going there.
FOCAL LENGTH B767-300 about 120mm
Spot #6 – Park Westwood
WHERE Starting at the airport drive right/westwards into the Avenue Cardinal and after you have passed a golf course turn right into the Avenue Thorncrest. Follow this road to its end and you stand directly infront of a hill and a garden community. There are some parking lots to your right.
WHAT Best spot for 06L arrivals in the morning. Line up for 06L may possible too.
TIME Morning until noon for the arrivals.
MISC. There is no toilet and no shop, take your dispositions before going there.

We visited this spot for you but we don´t have sample pictures yet due to the inactivity of the runway. Please don´t hesitate to contact us if you would like to share your pics with us. Sample on

Spot #7 – Airport’s Parking
WHERE Front of airport’s terminal, there is a parking, take the lift to the last floor and you’ll get a fantastic view on the end of runway 06R.
WHAT You’ll take good shots of landings 06R and taxi for departures 06R. If the runway 24L is in use for arrivals, you may shoot some airplanes using the last taxiway but you’ll miss a lot cause airplanes usually use a taxiway before. Departures 24L may be shoot there but airplanes are too above of your camera.
TIME From 11AM till evening
MISC. Park at the parking. There are shops, food and toilets at the terminal about 5 minutes walk from the point n°3.
FOCAL LENGTH B737-800 on the taxiway about 220mm
Approach 06R : A320 about 75mm

Spot #8 – Storage Halls – 24R arrivals
WHERE Between the Route Transcanadienne and the Autoroute Comedey you will find the Chemin Saint-François Street. This road leads you through a industrial area and some storage halls. If you drive on this road into south-western direction you’ll cross the Autoroute Comedey. Just 250m after this you should see a high mast on your right (just in the curve). Park your car nearby and come back to the meadow. Choose your favourite position, this depends on the angle you like the most!
WHAT Arrivals on runway 24R only.
TIME This position is only usable from February to mid-November, due lighting. Otherwise you’ll be fine from 3.30 p.m. until sunset.
MISC. If you drive back the Chemin Saint-François for about 600m you’ll find a gas station on your left. There you can get something to eat and there you’ll find restrooms, too.

Ladder is not needed here.


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