Tbilisi Intl. Airport (TBS/UGTB) is the main gateway to Georgia. It was built in 1952 roughly 15km out of Tbilisi city itself and handles 3,7 million passenger a year nowadays. Apart from local carriers such as Georgian Airlines or MyWay Airlines, you can also see some common operators like Turkish Airlines, but there are also rare movements here, thanks to local Asian carrier, for example Buta E190, Iran Aseman B734 or Uzbekistan A320. Additionally, TBS is also a great spot to get the GeoSky B742s during their stop enroute from Asia to Europe and back. Old soviet aircraft types are rare in the plane sector while you may see some old helicopters though.
Pictures and Information provided by Damian Verwey and Vakhtang “Vato” Mumladze (Follow him on Instagram). Last Update: 2022
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|13L/31R||2500m — CLOSED, used as taxiway|
|T1||There is one terminal handling all operations.|
|Ladder||Not recommended at all, neither to hang at the fence.|
|Car/Public Transport||A car is very useful, but you can also get to the spots by bus/taxi, just getting back can be tricky then. Distances are okay though for walking by foot as well.|
|Drinks/Food||There are no shops/restaurants around spots 2/3. So rather bring everything you need with you in advance.|
|Hotels||No spotter hotels around.|
|Season||Summer is hot and hazy, winter has no perfect weather. Spring/Autumn are best.|
|Security||The situation of aviation, airport and plane photography in Georgia is highly disputed. Plane spotting is actually sort of prohibited in Tbilisi – in Batumi it is okay for example! This may be as it is especially forbidden to photograph military territory, which the airport of Tbilisi somehow is. Thus you might be send away by the police here as taking photos of airplanes is not really tolerated.
Locals are working on a good relationship to the airport to become somehow authorized with permissions. But for now, we recommend to get in touch with local spotters like: for example Vakhtang “Vato” Mumladze (IG: Avia24_photovideo), he is very helpful when it comes to foreign visitors! Thanks again for his support who helped us setting up this guide!
However you go: it is important and recommended to keep a low profile here. So don’t use a ladder and put your camera back into your bag immediately after taking the picture.
|General Info||The aircraft fly in from both directions, so be prepared for runway changes as traffic is also not that much. Especially the GeoSky 742s are free to use the direction of favour regarding their destination.|
|Spot #1 – Parking lot – Apron + Taxiway + 13/31 Movements|
|WHERE||The spot is located on an elevated gully cover next to a parking lot. To get there you can take the bus line 37 from Tbilisi City Centre to the airport (costs around 0,5 Georgian Lari=0,17 Euro) and then walk about 250 meters from the bus stop in front of the terminal to the named parking lot.|
|WHAT||Good overview on movements on Taxiway C and on the stands 116-100. In the distance you can also spot movements on the runway and the outer stands 108-111.|
|TIME||Sunrise till early noon.|
|MISC.||It is important and recommended to keep a low profile here as you are easily visible. So don’t use a ladder and put your camera back into your bag immediately after taking the picture. Heat haze and foreground clutter may disturb your view.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Stands 116-100: 50-90mm / Stands 108-111: 180-220mm
Taxiway C: 70-120mm / Runway: 350-450mm
|Spot #2 – Hill – 13/31 Movements|
|WHERE||On a small hill next to a residental house southeast of the airport is the next spot located. Either take your own car here or get a taxi to this location. The ride from the terminal takes about 5 minutes. The hill cannot be missed, but that’s why stay down at the bottom till you really wanna photograph something and just go up then. Do not camp on the hill all the time as you are easy to see!|
|WHAT||Actually all runway movements: 31 arrivals and line-ups/backtracks plus also heavy 13 arrivals/roll outs and departures.|
|TIME||Depends on which movement, but best from sunrise till early noon.|
|MISC.||Haze is an issue due to the distance in summer. Literally no shadow around, take everything you need with you. Keep a low profile! Airport security otherwise may come, check your ID and send you away! Stay down at the bottom and only go up for the spotting itself!|
|Spot #3 – Besarion Keburia Settlement IV – 13R Arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is located off the northwestern end of the airfield on a small, dead end field road southwest of a settlement/residental area. Just head for the position marked on the map, maybe best to take the street (leading to some airport infrastructure facilities outside of the airportfence) down the fence out of the residental area.
Recommended way to get here is by own car via Besarion Keburia Settlement IV Dead End or take the bus running thru the settlement with various stops.
|WHAT||From here you can spot 13 arrivals.|
|TIME||Early noon till early evening as the sun will be more behind the aircraft during sunset.|