Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL/SCEL), also known as Pudahuel Airport and Santiago International Airport, is the main airport in Chile. The airport is one of the most modern and efficient in Latin America and it is the main gateway for flights from South America to Oceania. It is also an important hub for flights to/from North America and Europe. In 2016 it handled approximately 16 million passengers.
It is located in Pudahuel, a suburb in the northwestern part of the Santiago Metropolitan Region. It handles civil (commercial passenger, cargo & general) as well as military traffic and has two runways. In the morning, the 777, 787, 747, Airbus A340-600, A330 etc, of the airlines of Europe and North America arrives like Iberia, Air France, KLM, LATAM Brasil, American Airlines, Qantas etc. Military aviation is very present at the airport, with many landings and takeoffs from the Chilean Air Force with their 707, F-28, Hercules etc. But it depends a lot on the day. Sometimes it does not take off and it does not land any military, and sometimes it takes off and land several, depends on the same luck.
Written by Ediney Ribeiro (local spotter)
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|3.748 m (12,298 ft)||3.800 m (12,467 ft)|
|Terminals||One terminal for all commercial passenger traffic|
|Spotting Information||Ladder||Not required at any of the described locations|
|Car||Recommended/required as all locations are far from the terminal and public transportation options are very limited.|
|Restrooms||There are no restrooms at any of the locations.|
|Drinks/Food||Recommended to bring snacks and drinks. Also make sure to apply/bring sunscreen as there is no shade at any of the locations.|
|Hotels||The Holiday Inn Airport Hotel is right across from the terminal. Another option fairly close by is the Diego de Almagro Hotel.|
|Season||Basically all year, but the best time of the year is during the months of May and June. As this is the beginning of the colder season, the light is best then, and only very little rain is to be expected.|
|Runway Usage||General Info||Due to the southern winds there are southern operations most of the time. RWY´s 35 are barely in use.|
|17R/35L||Used for both landings and takeoffs. This runway is mainly in use.|
|17L/35R||Used for both landings and takeoffs, but mainly during peak hours, especially for landings in the morning.|
|Spot #1 – Control Tower
|WHERE||To go to spot 01 you must leave the airport by the Armando Cortinez highway and at the first exit turn right, you will be on the Diego Barros Ortiz highway, follow this highway until the end, it ends at the side of the control tower there you will have a view terminal and can take pictures of the aircraft taxi.
There is no public transportation to this location.
|WHAT||You can get pictures of the movements of the aircraft in front of the terminal, takeoff photos or landings are not possible here.|
|TIME||Throughout the year it is possible to photograph in this place, the light is always favorable|
|MISC.||Although the place is close to hangars and the control tower, there are no public toilets here, you must bring food and water, there are some stairs that give access to the tower, but be aware that you may be asked to leave the place, not I believe you can take stairs here, would draw your attention.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Centurions 744 = 60mm; A320 = 70mm|
|Spot #2 – Diego Barros Ortiz highway – 17R/35L|
|WHERE||This location is located on the Diego Barros Ortiz highway, exit the airport and take the first exit on the right, you will be on the Diego Barros Ortiz highway, go for another two kilometers and you will find the place. Offers a great view of the whole 17R/35L runway, you can park your car in a place close to the spot, cross the road and photograph landings and departures. You do not need stairs here as the road is on a higher level than the fence.|
|WHAT||As you are in the middle of the ruwnay all movements on 17R/35L are possible.|
|TIME||Afternoon until sunset all year round.|
|MISC.||There are no bars or snack bars, take sunscreen, there are no shadows here.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||763=60mm; E190=80mm|
|Spot #3 – Field – 17R arrivals|
|WHERE||To go to this place just follow the Diego Barros Ortiz highway, when the highway makes a turn and you pass next to the headwaters 17 shortly after you have found a field, it is there. I parked the next car and was not disturbed by anyone.|
|WHAT||Arrivals runway 17R only. Planes take offs are very high, especially the smaller ones.|
|TIME||From sunrise till noon all year round.|
|MISC.||Do not need stairs, there are no bathrooms or bars, take food and drink.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||732=190mm; A320=170mm|
|Spot #4 – Camino a lampa – 17L/35R|
|WHERE||Situated on the Camino A Lampa highway, it is ideal for photos in the morning until noon, the arrivals of the heavy in the morning is by this lane to 17L. To get here take the car and leaving the airport take the left and go straight along the airport, practically at the beginning of the route you can start taking photos till the end of the road as the fence is lowered no ladder is needed. Maybe 1-2 steps to avoid the wire in the lower part of the photos.|
|WHAT||Takeoffs and landings from the 17L/35R. Sample photos are taken at the marking, where the planes touch the lane.|
|TIME||From sunrise till noon all year round.|
|MISC.||No restrooms and no ha bars, light water and food. I did not feel unsafe here and there are plenty of places to park the vehicle.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||788=80mm; 772=60mm|