Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ/LIPE) is located north-east of the city Bologna, next to the Highway A14. It is the busiest airport of Emilia-Romagna, with increasing number of passengers (like 12% more every year ), ending 2017 with around 8,2 million passenger. This number is growing due to connection to every European capital, a daily flight of Emirates and base of Ryanair. Also a lot of flights to Eastern Europe, mainly Romania and Albania.
Except for the 777 Emirates there aren’t heavies, but the city of Bologna holds many exhibitions, so upgrades are frequently in that weeks. Common sights are Alitalia, Lufthansa, Turkish, KLM, Ram, Brusselles,Air France, Sas, Aeroflot, Iberia, Tap, Csa as main carriers. Low costs like Easyjet, Ryanair, Vueling and Wizzair. Some interesting movements are Ernest, Air Arabia Maroc and Georgian Airways. Also a bunch of cargo flights visit Bologna during the week: 767 Star Air, A300 DHL and very early in the morning F50 Amapola and 737 ASL. Also a D228 from/to Mannheim usually operates during night but it can easily be delayed until midday and after, is not so uncommon. You can also see a lot of bizjets, a lot coming just for parking there. Military movements are quite rare but during the week you can see some aircraft coming for some touch and go sessions.
If the weather in Florence is not good the flights are diverted to Bologna and Pisa, so especially in winter you can see a lot of them. Bologna is not an airport with intense traffic but the spotting locations are great, so if you just want to take good pictures is the place you are looking for.
For flights information check Aeroporto Marconi website or follow Facebook group “VolaBologna”
Guide was written by Tombarelli Federico (regular visitor).
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|Terminals||One for all operations, except General Aviation that has his own (TAG)|
|Ladder||If the runway in use is 12 is a must, otherwise you can be without.
At spotting position 3 you can find something else to use
|Car/Public Transport||Car is necessary, you can try by train but you won’t reach other spotting locations other than #3 . No good bus services around neither.|
|Restrooms||Only some bushes around the airport.|
|Drinks/Food||A bunch of restaurants really close to the airport, also bar/cafè and a Coop Supermarket in the near city of Calderara di Reno (3Km).|
|Hotels||Hotels are inside the city but you can find them close to the airport|
|Season||Is good all year. It can be dangerous is winter due to frequent fog|
|12/30||The main runway is 12 but when there is lack of arrivals is frequent the take-off from 30 to avoid noise over the city. With unfavorable winds the 30 becomes the active runway.|
|Spot #1 – Riverbank Reno River – Taxiway movements RWY30 Morning
|WHERE||This spot is located over the riverbank of Reno River at the end of Runway 30. From the airport follow sights to “Lippo”. You’ll see the runway on your left and the riverbank straight ahead. Just park under it when the road start to curve, than you’ll see a path to climb it. You can stay in the middle or go to the top and move all along it, following the sun or the angle you prefer the most.|
|WHAT||You can see all the runway 30 movements. This is also the only location for ground shots of heavies rwy12 landings. They must vacate runway at the end of it, so you can get them like the Emirates below. In summer if 30 is in use walk all along the riverbank and you’ll find the perfect place to take early morning departures, like cargos.|
|TIME||Good from sunrise to midday or slightly after. In winter you have to leave sooner. For landings is good until 4-5PM in summer.|
|MISC.||You are elevated so you don’t need a ladder. A lot of shade all around. Bring food and drinks, but you can always leave for 10 min to reload if you check flights and find spare time.|
|FOCAL LENGTH|| 70-300 mm
Lining up B777= 85mm
|Spot #2 – Runway 12 Afternoon|
|WHERE||This spot is the best place in Bologna. Just follow the perimeter road and you’ll arrive in the city of “Bargellino”. Here you can see the end of the taxiway/Runway 12 close to the road on one side, the railway on the other. Park the car on the left near the trees or near the crush gate but DON’T park in front of it otherwise Police will send you away.|
|WHAT||From here you can take good pictures of every taking off aircraft from Runway 12, both in the taxiway and runway. Also every arrival from 12. When 30 is active this location isn’t good, just go behind the road until the T.A.G. building and try to take take offs from there. It happends that some small aircraft or Ryanair use the Bravo entrance to the runway and you won’t get them.|
|TIME||Light is good in winter from 10 to sunset. In summer from 13 to sunset. Is a wide place with a lot of angles so you are free to move along the fence and choose the better position for light, avoid reflections ecc..|
|MISC.||3 step ladder needed, but if you ask some local people they can give you a chair and is enough to climb up, you’ll always find someone there. You haven’t nothing really close to you so take food and drinks, but you should have spare time and in 10 min you can search a cafè in the cities around you or go to Coop Supermarket in Calderara di Reno (as shown in the map).|
|FOCAL LENGTH||28-105mm for taxiway
70-150mm for Runway and landings
|Spot #3 – Bargellino Train Station parking – Runway 12 Landings Morning
|WHERE||Continue the road from #3 and find a roundabout. Take the last exit and you’ll find the Train Station parking. Just park there at the beginning and wait for landings.|
|WHAT||Morning arrivals from Runway 12|
|TIME||Light is good from sunrise to 9AM only in summer|
|MISC.||Ladder not needed. Nothing really nearby, but food and restrooms can be found in the nearby cities.|
Sample pictures follow soon!
|Spot #4 – The Pit – Morning takes off and landings
|WHERE||From the airport go after Runway 30 and reach “Lippo”. From there pass through the city heading to Runway 12. Follow the roads: “Via San Vitalino” than “Via Due Scale”, “Via del Cerchio” and take “Via Fossa Cava” and follow it to the end. You’ll find two houses and a lot of fields. Park the car where you find place, than follow the small riverbank you’ll find on the left. Stay over it and walk a bit. You’ll be over the fence and see the runway. Stay where you prefer.|
|WHAT||Every movement from Runway 12 and also take offs from Runway 30. Ideal place to take cargo movements in the morning. You can try to shot cargo parked, if they are in a specific parking slot, like the DHL below but you are pretty far and usually they aren’t without obstacles.|
|TIME||Light conditions are good from sunrise to 9 AM only in summer|
|MISC.||No ladder. Nothing really nearby, bring what you need but you’ll stay there for only a couple of hours|
|FOCAL LENGTH||50 – 200mm|
|Spot #5 – Lippo – Vacating Runway 12 Half morning
|WHERE||This spot is located at the crash gate in Lippo. Enter Lippo after rounding Runway 30 and take the first road you’ll find on the left. you’ll see the blue gate. Don’t park in front of it and just reach it for taking the photo.|
|WHAT||At this spot you see nothing because of huge mountains acting like anti-noise system. You just see the landings light far away, so FlightRadar is a must. You’ll take photos only of airplanes that vacate runway in the middle.|
|TIME||Light is good from 9AM to 11 Am only in summer, is like the only place you have to take photos in this hours.|
|MISC.||A ladder is recommended. Use discretion, don’t show your ladder too much and just go near the gate for photos. Food and restrooms can be found in Lippo. At this spot there is Pizzeria Restaurant Emi.
A new higher fence has been installed in the better part of this position so now is more tricky to get good shots.
|FOCAL LENGTH||70 – 200mm|