Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH/LGAV) is the busiest airport in Greece. Operations began in March 2001, when it replaced Athens (Ellinikon) International Airport. In 2017, close to 22 million passengers passed through the airport. The airport is the hub and main base for Aegean Airlines and a few other Greek airlines, such as Olympic Air and Sky Express. It is also frequently being visited by domestic carriers ASTRA Airlines and Ellinair.
Currently, the most exotic international visitor is Scoot (Nov-Mar 2x/week, Apr-Oct 3-5x/week), but it also sees traffic from North America (Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Canada Rouge) and the Middle East (Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates). ATH is also a major cargo hub: Star Air, Cargo Air, Bluebird Nordic and ASL Airlines have several flights a week. Occasionally military movements can be observed, but keep a low profile when spotting those as this could raise some unwanted attention by security and law enforcement. Otherwise, plane spotting is generally tolerated by the authorities. As always, when being approached by police or security, stay calm and be cooperative.
MORE SPOTS WILL BE ADDED WITHIN THE NEXT WEEKS!!!
Written by Jim Roos, Stathis Panagiotopoulos and Thomas Okaty. Last Update March 2019
How was your spotting trip?
Rate this airport now.
(No Ratings Yet)
|3,800 m (12,467 ft)||4,000 m (13,123 ft)|
|Terminals||Main Terminal – all mainline Schengen and Non-Schengen flights||Satellite Terminal – used by low-cost and charter carriers|
|Spotting Information||Ladder||Not required.|
|Car||Not required for the first two spots but for all other its necessary. Spot 5 is in walking distance to the metro station.|
|Restrooms||Inside the main terminal.|
|Drinks/Food||Inside the main terminal. Nothing around.|
|Hotels||The Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel, which is the only hotel right at the airport, is located across from the entrance to the main terminal between the short-term parking lots P1 and P2. The rooms om the top floor provide a good view on runway 03L/21R, however, as the runway is quite far away, taking photos is difficult. From the hotel it is only a short walk to spotting locations #1 and #2.|
|Season||Good all year, but it can get very hot during the summer, so very likely you will be dealing with heat haze then.|
|Runway Usage||03L/21R||03L Ops: 07:00-15:00/18:00-23.00 for arrivals and 15:00-18.00/23:00-07:00 for departures|
21R Ops: used for both landing and takeoff
|03R/21L||03R Ops: 15:00-18.00/23:00-07:00 for arrivals and 07:00-15:00/18:00-23.00 for departures|
21L Ops: used for both landing and takeoff
|Spot #1 – McDonald’s Main Terminal Departure Level – Movements Rwy 03R/21L and Taxiways C & D|
|WHERE||This spot is located airside at the McDonald’s restaurant on the departure level of the main terminal.|
|WHAT||Movements on runway 03R/21L as well as taxiways C & D.|
|TIME||From around early afternoon until sunset.|
|MISC.||All windows have tinted glass and the place usually is very crowded. In the summer, heat haze can be an issue.|
(140mm for 767-300 on taxiway)
|Spot #2 – Metro & Train Station – Movements Rwy 03L/21R and Taxiways A & B|
|WHERE||From the main terminal walk to the Metro & Train station. You can also follow the Long Term Parking signs. At the end of the building there is an exit, that´s spot #2.|
|WHAT||Movements on runway 03L/21R and taxiways A & B, but best for arrivals on 21R.|
Smaller aircrafts landing on 03L might vacate the runway before a decent shot is possible.
Smaller aircrafts departing from 03L will be already fairly high in climb.
|TIME||From sunrise until early afternoon.|
|MISC.||Everything you need within the terminal (10 minutes walk). In the summer, heat haze can be an issue.|
When a Greece military aircraft is landing there can be additional security staff present.
(500mm for Cyprus A319 landing on 21R)
|Spot #3 – Europcar Rental Car Station – Arrivals Rwy 03L|
|WHERE||This spot is located at the Europcar rental car station. From the main terminal follow Attiki Odos/A62 to Kropia, then take exit K1 and follow the signs to Europcar. It takes approx. 6 minutes (6 km) for the drive. Alternatively you can also take the shuttle bus. Parking is not possible at the Rental Station so find a place along the road to stay and spot from one of the fields. An alternative is spot #4.|
|WHAT||All arrivals on runway 03L.|
|TIME||From Sunrise till 14:00.The summer after 12:00 the light is hard and over the runway and the aircrafts are backlit.|
|MISC.||Bring everything what you need, especially water as it can get very hot in the summer.|
(400mm for Sky Express ATR)
|Spot #4 – Bridge – 03L landing/departures|
|WHERE||Its on a bridge over the access road to the airport. From Attika Avenue with direction to Airport, take the exit K1 (Local Roads) and at the intersection turn left. At 50-60m you stop at right on the bridge and start spotting.The point is over Atica Avenue|
|WHAT||From here you can take photos from aircrafts in the holding point A1,A2 and taxiways Alpha,Bravo.In additional you can take photos from Aircrafts in short final for landing on 03L RW.|
|TIME||From early morning to noon about 14:00 the winter and about 13:00 the summer|
|MISC.||Bring everything what you need, especially water as it can get very hot in the summer. Bushes and trees might disturb the sight.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Boeing 777 Emirates 135mm; Antonov 180mm; Dassault Falcon 900B 300mm|
|Spot #5 – Animal Sanctuary – 03L arrivals|
|WHERE||Coming from Athens to the airport, take exit K1 (local roads) and at the junction turn left. Pass spotting point 4 and drive for about 1.2km until you see an animal sanctuary to your right. There are some possibilities to park on the side of the road where you can stay. The nearest suburban station is the Koropi station 1km from the point and you have to walk up there.|
|WHAT||Aircraft in short final for landing on 03L.|
|TIME||From 18:00 till sunset. The runway is in use for landings from 18:00 every day after a break between 15:00-18:00.|
|MISC.||Bring everything what you need, especially water as it can get very hot in the summer. Bushes and trees might disturb the sight. Take care of the cultivations and respect the farmers property.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||150mm to 250mm|
Croatia Airlines 200mm; Gulf Air 180mm; Alitalia 210mm
|Spot #6 – Field – 03R arrivals|
|WHERE||Its in the middle of nowhere between some fields. From Atica Avenue with direction to Airport you get the exit K1 “local roads” (same as the spots before) but at the junction you turn right and about 160 meters later turn left and enter the gravel road. Stay on this road for about 500 meters and at the fork stay right and in 400m turn right and after anoher 250m you stop your car.|
|WHAT||From this spot you can take photos aircrafts in short final for landing on 03R,|
|TIME||From 15:00 time till sunset.|
|MISC.||Bring what you need, there is nothing in the area. It is not served by public transport. As in all points around the airport show respect to farmers’ crops|
|FOCAL LENGTH||160mm -400mm|
|Spot #7 – Ekklisia Panagia Curch – 03R arrivals|
|WHERE||Next to a place of prayer called Ekklisia Panagia. There are two alternative routes to reach this point. The first route is as follows: From Attiki Odos direction to the airport you get out K1 “Local Roads” (same as the spots before) and at the intersection turn right. After the tarmak end you enter into a gravel road. After 400m turn right and after 350m left you enter a gravel road very bumpy (reminds Special stage of the Acropolis Rally with stones on the road. If you have car with small height from the road avoid it). Follow the road and after 700m you are at the small church.|
The second route is from the city of Markopoulo. From there the distance It is about 5 km but all on asphalt.
If you don´t like the angle you can try to follow the road northwards and stay somewhere along it to get more distance to the arriving aircraft.
|WHAT||All the mornings arivals on 03R and all the ELAL arivals. Normally at the mornings all the landings go to 03L but sometimes aircrafts go to the right runway.ELAL goes only at the 03R Runway.|
|TIME||The best time is about sunrise till 11:00. Before 08:00 there is not much light and after 11:00 the aircrafts will be backlit|
|MISC.||There is not nothing.Bring water food etc|
ELAL 787 110mm; ELAL 747 105mm