Manchester Airport (MAN;EGCC) is the third busiest airport in the UK and the busiest outside London. It has two runways both of 3,050m (10,000ft) in length, three passenger terminals, a cargo centre and several aircraft maintenance facilities. With an actual of 5 spots.
The vast amount of action occurs at Manchester in the morning and evening. Between 6am and 13pm most of the transatlantic traffic arrives. Then, most of these aircraft departs between 9am and 12am. The afternoon is mostly basic traffic from UK, mostly the same that comes in the morning dominated by charters and budget airlines from around Europe. Overnight the airport is usually quiet, with a few charters from the Mediterranean arriving in the early/late hours. Cargo aircraft are also regular at Manchester with some appearances from Cathay Pacific Cargo and every Friday morning 0630-0830 Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 77F on a stopover between Atlanta and Frankfurt.
Written by Jeremy Denton and Gary Culpan (last update March 2017)
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|3.050 m (10.000 ft)||3.050 m (10.000 ft)|
|Terminals||Terminal 1||Terminal 2||Terminal 3|
|Airliners scheduled and charter flying to European and other worldwide destinations||Variety of airlines||Domestic routes, European and International flights|
|Spotting Information||Ladder||Not required|
|Car||It will be much better if you have the opportunities to rent a car.|
|Restrooms||Inside terminal and restaurants around the airport.|
|Drinks/Food||Inside terminal and around the airport.|
|Hotels||Close to the airport there are many hotels but we recommend you to be at the Airport Inn Hotel.|
|Season||Weather is best in Summer and Autumn/Fall.|
|Runway Usage||05L||Take-offs during dual runway operations, take-offs and landings during single runway operations.|
|05R||Landings during dual runway operations, closed during single runway operations.|
|23R||Landings during dual runway operations, take-offs and landings during single runway operations.|
|23L||Take-offs during dual runway operations, closed during single runway operations.|
|During quieter hours of operations the Southern “Runway 2” is closed completely because the extra capacity is not required. During these hours take-off and landings both occur on the North “Runway 1” – either runway 05L or 23R depending on the wind.|
|Spot #1 – Threshold – 23L Arrivals Morning|
|WHERE||You have to go and park near the Airport Inn Hotel. From there, walk up and on the right theirs a black gate and simply follow the path. After a few minutes you will arrive close to the airport fence. Continue walking on the right and a few meters on your right, you’ll see a wood gate who you can climb and follow the small way until the hill. (In case, please refer you to the map as we underline the way to follow).|
|WHAT||Arrivals and departures both runways. Keep in mind that pictures of the 05L and 23R may have some heat haze from the half-day.|
|TIME||From sunrise to approx 1330/1400.|
|MISC.||There is nothing nearby, so take what you need with you. Do not throw any of your drinks/foods stuff as it’s a natural environment and theirs no rubbish.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Runway 05R/23L (taxiway, exit) : 210mm SB2, 50mm A380
Runway 05L/23R : 240mm A319 & 140mm B773
Recommend you 18-300mm
|Spot #2 – Runway Visitor Park – 05L & 23R Departures & Arrivals|
|WHERE||From the spot 1, take the Wilmslow road (A538) direction airport, than take the first exit to your right (Sundbank Lane) and finally take the Wilmslow Old Road on the right, go strait and you will see the Trident. If you go there on foot it’s free but if you go with a car, that’s the cost fee (£5 up to 2 hours, £10 from 2 hours up to 4 hours, and £12 for all stays over 4 hours).|
|WHAT||The main purpose built viewing area is placed close to the taxiways that are used by aircraft vacating runway 23R after landing and by aircraft taxiing to Runway 05L for departure. There are 3 raised mounds that give a 180 degree unobstructed view of the complete airfield (excluding the Western Apron). From this point you have the possibilities to have everything on the 05R and 23R.|
|TIME||Best light conditions are from 1500 to sunset.|
|MISC.||WC, games, aviation-shop, drinks, foods, chairs and visit aircraft are available if you book in advanced only.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Runway 05L/23R : From 150mm to 400mm.
Taxiing to runway 05L : 18mm or less up to 200mm.
Taxiing to Terminal : 140mm B773 & 380mm ATR72.
Recommend you 18-300mm
|Spot #3 – Terminal 1|
|WHERE||There are a few ways to get to this location, the most obvious being to drive up to the roof and park your own car up there and this is a great idea. It means that when there is a lull in traffic you can sit in your car with the air conditioning on and be free from the often harsh Manchester weather! Parking at T1 is not cheap though.Up to 30 minutes £2.50
Up to 1 hour £4.50
Up to 2 hours £8.00
Up to 4 hours £15.00
Up to 6 hours £20.00
Up to 24 hours £35.00
|WHAT||The roof or car rentals level, level 13, is the most popular part of the car park. There is usually a group of spotters in the corner watching the action and chatting – it’s a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. Located in this corner are large plastic bags which the airport has put up there as bins for the spotters to use. From this point only taxing aircraft or on static are possible except on the other spot of the parking you can have planes landing and departing rwy 23R and 05L.
The authorities locked the holes throw the fence so it is impossible to take pictures throw the fences. But, if you have a look at the overview picture you can still get pictures from the right (next to the white BMW) theirs a open view but only for one person. Otherwise, you can get some if you lay down theirs some holes.
|TIME||Any time. Runways activities afternoon, terminal best in the morning.|
|MISC.||You can take the elevator and go to the arrivals of the T2 theirs a small supermarket.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Recommend you 18-300mm|
|Spot #4 – Airport Hotel Car Park – 23L arrivals|
|WHERE||From Runway Visitor Park, take Wilmslow Old Road direction Wilmslow Rd/A538, you will arrived on a roundabout than take Runger Lane and Thorley Lane direction Ringway Road at Wythenshawe than continue on Ringway Rd, drive in Airport Hotel Car Park direction after take on the right on Ringway Rd and finally on the first on the left. About 10 minutes by car.|
|WHAT||Nice place, you can take picture from a table drink a beer and eat at the same time. Only approach on rwy 23Rt is available at this point.|
|TIME||15:00 to the sunset.|
|MISC.||WC, games, drinks, foods are available.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||50-300mm is the best|
|Spot #5 – Long Stay Car Park – 23L arrivals|
|WHERE||Starting at Spot #4, turn right and continue on the Ringway Rd and then the second right into the B5166. After passing the railroad track turn right to the long stay car park. You can risk to park there but there are signs everywhere that say you’ll be towed if you park. Expect a visit from the police if you linger here, even without a car.|
|WHAT||Only approach on rwy 23Rt is available at this point.|
|TIME||From morning until early afternoon|
|MISC.||Here is absolutely nothing.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70-200mm is the best|