Newark Liberty Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

Newark Airport is one of the busiest airport in the United States, also being part of the three airport, together building the mega hub – New York City. Different to the other NY airports, Newark is located in New Jersey. Despite its location out-of-state, the airport is well connected to the Big Apple. Trains run all the way from Newark Airport to the NYC Penn Station. The Interstate 95 and 78 link KEWR with New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvanian metropolitan areas.

Newark Airport is mostly inhabited by United Airlines representing as the largest carrier at EWR. However, also international airliners come along regularly. 18 non-US airlines serve Newark beyond the United States’ borders including Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong-service, TAP’s daily flights into Portugal, Lufthansa, British Airways and Air India. There are two specials amongst them: the OpenSkies and LaCompagnie 757’s can also be photographed!

The airport was set up in early years – First official operation was on October 1, 1928. It was the largest airport worldwide in these days, until LaGuardia Airport commenced operations just about 10 years later. Funny thing, that JFK is New York’s busiest airport nowadays! Newark today serves more than 36 million passengers.

Newark Airport – its stunning history, its busy present and its bright future: Definitly a visit worth!

Written by Marlin Lehmann (Last visit August 2015)

Rating Movements
Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Informations    Runways 4L/22R 4R/22L 11/23
3,353m (11,000ft) 3,048m (10,000ft) 2,073m (6,800ft)
Terminals Terminal A Terminal B Terminal C
Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, AAEagle, JetBlue, Southwest, Virgin America, Elite Airways and some United flights. All non-US-carries and Delta Air Lines: Air India, Austrian, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, EL AL, Icelandair, OpenSkies, La Compagnie, etc. United Airlines and Air China (starting 26 October 2015) flights only.
Spotting Informations  Ladder Not needed at the spots below
Car Advisable, however all spots can be reached by local public transport.
Restrooms In every publicly accessable building like restaurants or hotels and inside of the terminal building.
Drinks/Food There are aplenty of restaurants, shops and food courts nearby the airport, offering supply of food and drinks.
Hotels There are many hotels immediately at the airport as well as in in the airport’s area and neighbouring towns.
Season The traffic at Newark Airport does not show any significant changes during the year except a slight increase of passenger and traffic volume in summer months. Winters in New York City can be tremendously cold and icy.
Spotting in the United States is not always tolerated. There have been several reports from fellow spotters that police checks were performed. Especially in the NY area, police is ubiquitous. Spotting at some places is not tolerated.Please be also aware of following facts: The police is quite harsh of endangering the streets safety. If you are standing beside a street and you are visible to drivers, police may ask you to leave as you may distract drivers from keeping their attention onto the road traffic.Some police officers may react rude to our hobby as they suspect terrorism by photography of airplanes, especially in the NY area. Always stay polite and stay in car when a police officer stops for a check. Do not leave your car unless you are told to do so!The spots underneath are believed to be safe but check the MISC box for further info. is not liable for any inconvenience and misbehaviour towards the police of fellow spotters.
Runway Usage  4L/22R When 04-runways are in use, 04L is used by departing aircraft, however it can occour that some few planes land on this runway in times of high traffic volume.

When 22-runways are in use, same procedure applies – planes are departing on this runway, whist arrivals mostly come in on 22L.

4R/22L When 04-runways are in use, 04R is used for arrivals only. Departures are rare on 04R.

When 22-runways are in use, same procedure applies – planes are usually landing on 22L. It is likely that airplanes also depart from here. That happens quite often.

11/23 When winds are blowing from the west or east stronger than usual, EWR defaults to this short runway which is mostly being used by smaller planes during peak times also, however larger jets land here on exceptional windy days only. Arrivals AND departures are operated via this runway.

Spot #1 – IKEA and Toys R Us Parking Lot
WHERE Spot 1 is located on a big parking lot which belongs to Toys R Us and IKEA, two big stores sharing on huge parking area. You can choose any parking space to spot, parking close to the fence is more clever due to less zooming. If you are coming from NYC or Newark Airport just take the Earhart Drive southbound. The airport access road of EWR is egg-shaped. When you depart at Terminal A or B, take this egg-shaped access road northbound and follow signs ‘ Terminals A, B and C/All Parking/Rental Car Return’. Then, always hang left for Earhart Drive/Elizabeth. (Please note: There is a different route when you depart at Terminal C as you can not access Earhart Dr once you leave Terminal C. Check Google Maps for further info.) You will pass the FedEx ship center among others. Take Earhart Drive for about 3.1 miles (5km) until you have reached the crossroads area with North Ave E. Turn left onto North Ave E and follow the streets course for just about 0.6 miles (950m), Then, turn left again onto IKEA Drive. Don’t be surprised, the road swerves. After 0.4 miles (650m) turn left onto the parking lot. The route from the airports terminals to this spot will take you about 9 minutes at normal traffic conditions.
WHAT All landing aircraft into 04R and 04L (distanced, however) as well as take-offs from either runways except 11/23. Departures on inner runway can also be distanced but heavy, late take-offs are thoroughly. You can also see all departures when 04s are in use, however photograph them is rather not possible.
TIME From sunrise until early afternoon for runway arrivals. This refers to summer months, spotting in winter from here is comfortable from sunrise to approx. 12/1pm the latest only.
MISCELLANEOUS Spotting from here is quite safe as long as you stick to some rules which are easy to follow. Don’t block the way of others whilst you park your car right on the road, so park your vehicle appropriated as Police Elizabeth and a Safety Administration checks this area regularly. You can also take pictures while you stay in your car. This applies to the entire NY Area!

There is free Wi-Fi nearby: As you enter the IKEA building, Wi-Fi will be available for free, simply sign up at the IKEA homepage by typing in your personal data and you can easily check the flightradar24 app for the upcoming arrivals.

The IKEA also offers food, enter the building at the rear so you do not have to walk through the entire shop. Hot Dogs are available at only $0.75 as well as drinks including free refills and small snacks. Pizza slices can be bought $2.75 (As of Aug 2015).

You can also travel here by public transport, check the map above for nearby bus stops, routes and destinations.

FOCAL LENGTH Photography with a 70-300mm lens is absolutely enough here.
Boeing 717 = 195mm – Dash 8 Q300 = 220mm – Airbus A330-30 =: 90mm – Boeing 737-700 = 155mm
Spot #2 – Terminal A
WHERE This location is next to the Terminal A on a some stairs next to the facility. Start at the ground floor and head to Terminal B. You will see some stairs leading up to some offices at the end of Terminal A. Go up there and you will have a nice view.
WHAT You will see movements on taxiway Alpha and Bravo but some light poles and tails may tarnish your sight. The runway is too far for acceptable pics may some 22R departures are possible.
TIME Spotting from here is advisable from the early afternoon (about 2.30pm in summer months) until sunset. Due to the ground heat haze, the summer month are not the best time for spotting at this location.
Spotting in winter starts to become comfortable at about 1pm already.
MISCELLANEOUS I had no problems at this position during my stay with security. The office staff use this as a somking area. Its a good position if you have a long layover at EWR as you can easily walk to this spot. Everything you need is within the terminals.
FOCAL LENGTH You need a lense between 100mm and 400mm.
Airbus A330 (Alpha) = 180mm – Boeing 737 (Bravo) = 330 mm – CRJ900 (Alpha) = 300mm
Spot #3 – Conrad Rd – Departures of 04L and 04R
WHERE There is a good place for departures of runway 04L in Newark’s Cargo City. When your route begins at the airport, exit it via the egg-shaped access road and follow signs ‘Airport Exit, Interstate 78,  and Off-Airport Rental Cars’.

Then, follow signs for Federal Highways  and Route 21 markerU.S. Route 22 marker Newark-Elizabeth/Off-Airport Rental Cars, so keep left.

You will now merge with another airport access road, so keep in the middle lane and follow signs ‘NORTH   andRoute 21 markerU.S. Route 22 marker towards New York-Newark/Off-Airport Rental Cars’ keep right.

After 0.5 miles, follow signs ‘ TO Route 21 marker / U.S. Route 22 marker and Interstate 78/DOWNTOWN Newark’

After 0.4 miles, keep right to follow signs ‘ TO , Interstate 78/ PORT NEWARK /  North Area and South Area. Hang right again at the second exit (not the first one, this leads you to Holland Tunnel/Manhattan) to leave the highway. Once you have exited the highway, turn left onto Brewster Rd and use it for 0.1 miles only. Turn left into Conrad Rd and stop after 0.2 miles and use on of the free parking spaces. The route is marked in blue in the map above, starting at Terminal B.

WHAT Departing airplanes from runway 04L can be photographed perfectly from here. You can also take photos of parked VIP jets which are right behind the fence. Landing aircrafts during 22-runway operations should be possible as well but we don’t exactly know about this.
TIME Spotting from here is advisable from the early afternoon (about 2.30pm in summer months) until sunset. This refers to summer months, spotting in winter starts to become comfortable at about 1pm already.
MISCELLANEOUS Smaller, light fueled aircraft may be higher at this position. Lots of Boeing 737-800-services are operation medium-haul-flights to Houston for example and therefore rotate as late as heavies do, as they are heavily fueled up.

You can park you vehicle here, but we advise you not to leave the car unattended at all times due to strict security checks done by the police. They always have a reason to ticket you, be it the congestion of the ways of pedestrians. They’re creative so keep in car when possible. This applies to the entire NY Area!

You can also travel here by public transport, check the map above for nearby bus stops, routes and destinations.

FOCAL LENGTH 04L-departing airplanes can be shot with a 70-400mm-lens
Boeing 777s = 200mm – Airbus A330s =  220mm – Boeing 737-900s = 270mm – Airbus A320s = 300mm and up

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4 thoughts on “Newark Liberty Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

  1. Eddie Maloney

    Sir, do you suggest parking more towards the freeway side of the lot? I would imagine the Toys R us side of it would be less busy.

    1. MarlinMarlin Post author

      Hi Eddie, thanks for you comment.
      There is lots security checking the car parks regularly but as long as you behave alright,you shouldn’t experience any hassles with them.
      They don’t care about spotters too much, they rather look out for some parking violators.

      Marlin Lehmann

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