Guangzhou-Baiyun airport, serving a metropolis of 11 million of inhabitants, is the main airport of the Guandong province. The airport is the main hub of China Southern Airlines and a focus city for Shenzhen Airlines. “Baiyun” means “white clouds” in Chinese, and refers to Mount Baiyun near the airport. The airport opened on August 5, 2004, replacing the 72-year-old previous, identically named Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (now closed). The new airport is 28 kilometers North-East from downtown Guangzhou. The airport is the hub – and so is dominated – by China Southern Airlines but keeps a good selections and variety of Chinese airlines and also a good international traffic. This a busy airport with a nice mix of traffic between widebodies and even relatively small aircraft like the ERJ-190 that are impossible to see, for example in Beijing, dominated instead by larger capacity aircraft. In the morning there is a large number of international flights with widebodies aircraft.
At Guangzhou you can see Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Loong Air, Capital Al., Tianjing Al., Hainan Al. Chonqing Al., Sping, China United and others. The airport is located to the North-East of the big town and easily reachable with the efficient metro service.
General tips for China
Some websites and app don’t work in China (like Whattsap or Facebook/Messanger ecc.) so you might need a list of useful apps:
We recommend to buy a prepaid card at the airport during transit as the chance to talk to an english speaking seller is much bigger there.
Written by Brent Wang (local spotter), Luciano Manara and Markus Mainka (Spot 6) and Ruoyang Yan. Last changer: December 2022 (Spot 7)
How was your trip? Rate this airport!
| (11 votes, average: 4.64 out of 5)
|01/19||3.600 m (11.811 ft) Concrete|
|02L/20R||3.800 m (12.467 ft) Concrete|
|02R/20L||3.800 m (12.467 ft) Concrete|
|Terminal 1||Mainly service for Air China and China Eastern Airlines, as well as some of non-Skyteam international airlines.|
|Terminal 2||Mainly service for China Southern airlines and Xiamen Airlines, as well as some of the Skyteam members like China Airlines.|
|Ladder||Not needed and not recommend to use!|
|Car/Public Transport||Not recommend as metro + car hailing apps make it more convenient.|
|Restrooms||Only for location 1 as it’s near the terminals.|
|Drinks/Food||Suggest to take what you need except for location 1.|
|Hotels||Many hotels around the airport, most of them provide 24hrs free shuttles to the terminals. At spot 2 there is a hotel directly nearby.|
|Season||All year round|
|01/19||Traffic is mostly domestic departures and landings. Heavies are more likely to use east runways.|
|02L/20R||Normally in use for take offs only.|
|02R/20L||Normally in use for landings only. (Airbus A380 will only landing and take off on this side of the airport using this two runways).|
Due to national security concerns, the use of geographic information in China is restricted and the layers in google maps don´t fit. The satellite images are correct but the street layers are displaced!
Please click on the link at each location (WHERE) to get to the chinese website baidu where you find an exact map with satellite and street view images. If you use a smartphone please download the Baidu App.
|Spot #1 -Terminal 2 Platform – All Runways & Taxiway A|
+++ UPDATE OCTOBER 2022: This spot became unavailable because of constructions of a new wing of the terminal 2 expansion. The new structure obstructs the view of the aircrafts on the ground. +++
|Spot #2 – Rooftop – 02R/20L movements|
+++ Update October 2022: Point 2 has been closed on 10/3 and the building will be demolished soon, sadly. There is another old building with a similar view 1km to the north (coordinates 23°23’30.45″N, 113°19’0.50″E) which is still accessible at this time, but it will be also gone soon. It seems the whole village east of the airport will be demolished to make space for the new terminal.+++
|Spot #3 – Channel – 02R arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is pretty easy to get, there’s nothing near by except some houses, so use the label on the Guide’s map and use Baidu maps to navigate. You can get there by driving, Chinese Uber “DiDi” or by bus, for bus, take the line 842 bus from “Ren He subway station (人和地铁站)” and get off the bus at “Ming Xing Road Entrance (明星路口)” and use the map to walk there for about 0.4 miles.
From the main road where the bus stop is walk a bit westward until you reach some field under the approach path. Now turn right and walk northwards on the road in between the field and some house until you will reach the approach lights. You can position yourself on a footpath along a channel to find your preferred angle.LINK to Baidu maps
|WHAT||This spot is only for runway 02R arrivals.|
|TIME||Best time will be from sunrise until 11 A.M., both winter and summer will be good.|
|MISC.||No store nor restroom around here, buy some food from “Ren He (人和) town”.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||18-135mm is enough for this spot, otherwise, some engine or landing gears close up might need longer lenses.|
|Spot #4 – Restaurant – 01 arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is locating at the right end of the runway 01. It’s a balcony on the top of a restaurant, to get there, search for Chinese characters “李树庄园农庄”, you can drive their, using Chinese Uber “DiDi” or also go there by taking the bus, for bus, take the subway to the Terminal 1 (Also known as Airport South) and get on the bus line “Airport line 1(station at terminal one level 1 exit gate 28)” (caution: not the airport express line, that one is heading for downtown central Guangzhou), get off the bus at station “穗佳综合楼北门” and you will be able to get to the spot by following the maps and you will only need to walk for about 0.2 miles.|
|WHAT||This spot is good for runway 01 arrivals.|
|TIME||Best time from sunrise until noon/lunch (you can have a lunch downstairs since it is a Chinese restaurant). Good for whole year.|
|MISC.||Food, drinks, restrooms are all available down stairs. Purchase some food from the restaurant while doing plane spotting, because you are going to enter the restaurants private territory and they might ask you to leave.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70-300 is enough for this location.|
|Spot #5 – Abandoned House – 01 arrivals|
Update December 2022: due to the construction of the fourth runway the house has been demolished and this spot is no longer available.
|Spot #6 – Viewing Deck – 01/19 movements|
Update December 2021: due to the construction of the fourth runway the house has been demolished and this spot is no longer available.
|Spot #7 – Spotting Hills – 01/19 movements|
Update December 2022: due to the construction of the fourth runway the hill has been removed and this spot is no longer available.
|Spot #8 – ST Aerospace Guangzhou – Apron|
|WHERE||The spotting location is on a small bridge outside the fence of ST Aerospace Guangzhou(STAG) apron. Since there is no regular public transport near the spot, the best way to get there is call a Uber by “Didi” from Renhe(人和) or Gaozeng(高增) metro station and set the destination as”广州新科宇航科技有限公司“, and you’ll see a water channel and the spot as soon as arrive. It’s not easy to call a car from the spot so when you leave, you may have to walk 15-20 minutes to the nearest bus stop “Lixi Village Committee”(李溪村委) and take Rt.710 or 花71 to metro station. If you can contact a local spotter who has a car, the trip can be much more easier.|
|WHAT||As a major airframe service provider of Guangzhou, STAG maintains aircrafts from various airlines around the world. Delta’s 767 fleet and Japan Airlines’ 737 fleet are two regular visitors of STAG, so you can catch them from the spot easily. Besides, STAG also provides P2F conversion of Airbus A321,which means it’s possible to see an untitled A321P2F stay on the apron if you’re lucky enough.
Notice that you can ONLY photograph the aircraft on the STAG apron here. Normally it only have a few movements and most of them are in midnight. Sometimes there is no aircraft on the apron, so it’s recommended to observe the STAG apron from spot 2 or consult local spotters before you get there.
|TIME||From October to March it’s perfect to spot the north apron (for various airlines and A321P2F) all day long. From April to September it’s also able to spot the south apron(mainly for Delta 767)in daytime, but major part of the aircraft would hide behind the fence.
Night shot is available all year around.
|MISC.||A restaurant is located 200 meters away from the spot. However, bring some food and water by yourself is still recommended.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70-300mm for the north apron. For an aircraft taxiing via the bridge, even a smartphone can spot it.|
Hmmmm….Spot 4 is no more available now, due to the new runway construction. However, you can still spot the 01 arrival planes on the Hengwu Road (横五路），which is the way to the spot 4.
Can you send me some photos and GPS coordinates for the location an Hengwu Road please via this form: https://www.spotterguide.net/guide-update/
Hello it more bad news for baiyun
#7 – Spotting Hills was be disappeared so that there was no place in mid of rwy19 to take photos
the #7 disappeared in Marth 2022
Yes,you are right.Buy can you tell me where I can watch planes?Please offer some excellent locations!
That’s indeed pretty sad. Are there “new” spots that are not mentioned in the guide?
Emmmm,no. The rwy19-01 mid will never have a place to take photos again，and theSpot #5 – Abandoned House – 01 arrivals was be disappeared too
I meant are there any new spots where I can go? Actually there is not much left…
In fact there was no new spots can be go
OH i forget the Spot #4 – Restaurant – 01 arrivals disappeared too.Because this palce beacome a Construction site.There are always people in this building
Hello, I have been to Baiyun on October 1st and have more bad news:
Hi Stefano, bad news indeed! I have left a note in the guide. Thanks for the update.
Went today to the western side of the airport and surprisingly spots 5-7 are still accessable and existing even though they started grading the surrounding area for the new runway. The taxi driver dropped/picked me up right at spot 6. So no issues to cross the construction area. And the good news is that they already finished a new spotting hill which will be located at the western side of the future runway. From that hill one should have almost the same view like from spots 5-7 with Terminals and Tower as backdrop.
Hi Fabian, thanks for the update and good to hear that those are still available but I guess they are gone soon.
Spot 6-1 is no longer available now.it was destructed due to the fourth runway construction.
Sad to hear that. Spots 5/6 already gone and 7 history soon 🙁
Is taking photographs at Position 1 through glass?
No, it’s an open platform
If you are foreigners, contact local plane spotters before you go is a good choice. Friendly Guangzhou spotters would like to drive you there.