“Cluj Avram Iancu International Airport (IATA: CLJ, ICAO: LRCL) is the second largest airport in Romania after Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport and is welcoming passengers since 1932. The airport is situated 8 kms from the city center and is easily reachable by bus (line 5 or 8) or taxi.
Until the early 2000s the airport was mostly used for domestic flights and there were few movements. After 2007 the Airport began to expand, new terminals were built, facilities were upgraded. Low cost operators entered the local market and passanger numbers grew very quickly. The largest investment for the airport was building a brand new runway 07/25 which was finished and openned for traffic in 2013, replacing the old runway 08/26, which serves now as the taxiway D. Future plans are to increase the terminal capacity in order to attract more airlines and increase passanger numbers. Regarding the facilities a whole new taxiway is under construction and runway 07/25 is going to be expanded. Cluj Airport serves as a hub for Blue Air, HiSky and Wizzair. The majority of the movements are Wizzair aircraft as the company has it’s second largest base in Romania at Cluj, however the airport offers for spotters a reasonable variety of airlines, such as TAROM, LOT, Lufthansa, Air Dolomiti, Turkish Airlines and Ryanair. Besides comercial routes offered by airlines, the airport deserves an increased number of charter flights in the summer season on special occasions. In general bizzjet movements are few but during the two big festivals in Cluj-Napoca (Electric Castle and Untold) an increased number of private jets can be expected. As for the cargo, the variety is limited, consisting usually of Cargoair, Cargologic Germany 734F or Swiftair´s ATR72F which arrive and depart at evening/night, leaving you unable to spot them. Heavy aircraft movements are really rare, in the past 10 years there were only 3 heavy jets.
A gas station is nearby, where you can find drinks, snacks and toilets, therefore please make sure, that you leave the spots tidy. A major advantage of the airport is, that some spots are next to the taxiway, therefore no telephoto is needed when taking pictures of taxiing traffic.
The airport is still expanding, which means, that currently there are major preparations (excavations, river deviation) to extend runway 07 further to northeast. Therefore, we do not recommend currently to go on the eastern part of the airport, as the terrain changes weekly or even daily. If you want to take pictures from the east side of the airport, please consult Google Map thoroughly and contact some local spotter for further advice.
Written by local spotters Előd I.R., Zoltán Gy. For more information and insights about Cluj-Napoca and surrounding area you can message them directly via Facebook (CLJ Aviation Friends) or the jetphotos accounts of Előd and Zoltán. Last update: Fall 2021
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|07/25||2.040m x 45m – Concrete|
|Ladder||Ladders is recommended at locations 1 and 2.|
|Car/Public Transport||You can reach the airport and the spotting location easily by car and also by public transport, taking the bus line 5 (from City Centre) or 8 (from Marasti) until the Petrom gas station, where you can take some water and snaks and head directly to the strada Parașutiștilor, wich is directly situated at the corner of Taxiway F, connecting Taxiway D with Runway 07.|
|Restrooms||Restrooms can only be found at the Petrom gas stations.|
|Drinks/Food||Drinks and food can be found at the Petrom gas stations.|
|Hotels||There are a lot of hotels in Cluj-Napoca, but non spotter hotel around the airport.|
|Season||All season available, in summer with late sunset for perfect light, in winter you have (probably) snow, in spring and autumn if winds are calm sometimes you encounter low fog in the morning till noon that can make your shots nasty. We have above 30 degrees Celsius in Summer negative temperatures during winter.|
|Security||CLJ is mostly a spotter friendly airport, there is no need for a photo permit, however as always, decency should be shown when staying at spots close to the fence. Don´t lean or touch the fence, as most probably you will be warned by the security services.|
|07/25||Due to northwestern winds and ILS CAT II sistem mainly Runway 25 is used for arrivals and departures. Due to weight constrains for Taxiway D, aircraft above MTOW 63 tons must perform back-track on the runway, few of the jets are coming to the end of RWY 25 to perform this maneuvre.|
|Spot #1 – Strada Parașutiștilor|
|WHERE||By car: When driving from the city or from the direction of the airport, enter on the Elicei Street. You can find it easily, as it is next to the Petrom Gas stations. At the end of the Elicei street turn to the right and you find yourself on the Parașutiștilor Street. You can take pictures along the street until the next right turn. You have enough space to park your car.
By public transport: from the airport you can take the bus line 5 or 8 until Planoarelor stations. (The lines 5 and 8 come from the city and they turn around in front of the airport) From Planoarelor station go back until the Petrom Gas station, and there the Elicei street. At the Elicei street, you will find yourself at the corner ot the airport fence.
|WHAT||07 line-ups and arrivals, 25 arrivals and departures. From this spot you’ll get mostly small aircrafts (bizzjet, turboprop, piston) which are vacating/lining-up. Please note that aircrafts above MTOW 63 tons are only permitted to taxi on taxiway D if they are going to stay for a longer period. Lufthansa (Air Dolomiti) is the only company which always use this taxiway as they park on Appron 1.|
|TIME||Winter sunrise till sunset, Summer late morning-early afternoon (11.00-17.00)|
|MISC.||A ladder is recommended but not necessary, as you can find enough spots in the fence to make pictures without obstructions. At this place, you can make pictures along the fence until the next right turn. On the other side of the street are residential houses, please make sure, that you leave the spots tidy and do not trow away any trash . You can find drinks, snacks and toilets at the gas station in a 2 minute walk.
Dont´t lean or touch the fence, as most probably you will be warned and checked by the security services.
|FOCAL LENGTH||Taxiing B737/A320 = 60-70mm
07 Departures = 150-250mm
|Spot #2 – Strada Elicei|
|WHERE||It is almost the same diraction as for the previous spot but at the end of the Elicei street go forward on a short dirty road, where you find the fence to your right.|
|WHAT||07 line-up, arrivals, 25 arrivals, especially smaller aircraft (bizzjet, turboprop, piston), face-to-face pictures with taxiing aircraft on taxiway D|
|TIME||Winter 13.00 till sunset, Summer late afternoon 16.00-sunset|
|MISC.||A ladder (5-7 steps) is necessary, as the fence is quite high. At this place, you can make great sunset face-to-face pictures with taxiing aircraft on taxiway D. Please make sure, that you leave the spots tidy and do not trow away any trash. You can find drinks, snacks and toilets at the gas station in a 3 minute walk.
Dont´t lean or touch the fence, as most probably you will be warned and checked by the security services.
|FOCAL LENGTH||Close-Up at least 300mm|
|Spot #3 – Water rampart West|
|WHERE||By car: When driving from the city or from the direction of the airport, enter on the Elicei Street. You can find it easily, as it is next to the Petrom Gas stations. At the end of the Elicei street turn left, on the Prieteniei Street. Go straight ahead until you have a private long term car parking in front of you. You can leave your car on the side of the road. Walk around of the private parking on the left side and head back right to be on the left side of the airport fence. In front of you, you will see the water rampart, as it is on a higher elevation than you are right now. Go, climb on it, there are one or more paths that lead to it. When you have climbed the rampart, look to your right where you can easily locate the runway lights. When next to them, you find yourself on the centerline of the runway.
By public transport: from the airport you can take the bus line 5 or 8 until Planoarelor stations. (The lines 5 and 8 come from the city and they turn around in front of the airport) From the bus station take the next street to the right and walk on until you find a private long term car parking in front of you. You can leave your car on the side of the road. Walk around of the private parking on the left side and head back right to be on the left side of the airport fence. In front of you, you will see the water rampart, as it is on a higher elevation than you are right now. Go, climb on it, the are one or more paths that lead to it. When you have climbed the rampart, look to your right where you can easily locate the runway lights. When next to them, you find yourself on the centerline of the runway.
|WHAT||Great location for artistic captures, as you are on the centerline axis of the runway at the end of runway 25.|
|TIME||Summer 6.30-10 / 17-20|
|MISC.||If you want artistic sunrise/sunset head-on take-off pictures, with the rising sun in the background, or some cool insta pictures with a landing plane above your selfie, this is THE spot. Please make sure, that you leave the spots tidy and do not trow away any trash.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||At least 300mm|
|Spot #4 – Water rampart North|
|WHERE||Use the same direction as for the previous spot but from there you will have to walk around the airport fance which can take up to 25 min until you reach the spot. You will walk actually parallel to the runway, however on the first part you will be lower than it. After passing a technical building to your right, the ramparts elevations steadily increase and at some point, it will be above of the runway, giving you an absoulte perfect view on the traffic. Walk down on the rampart until taxiway G is on your right side, easily recongnizable, as it has the ILS antenna on the corner. This is the sweetspot, as you have a perfect view of the touchdown zone.|
|WHAT||25 arrivals, touchdowns, roll-outs, take-offs, 07 arrivals, departures, take-offs|
|TIME||Summer 17-20 / Winter it is backlit|
|MISC.||You can take pictures along the hole rampart. No ladder required, as you are above runway and fence. Take camping seat, snacks, drinks with you, as there is notting near you. Please make sure, that you leave the spots tidy and do not trow away any trash.
There may be 1-2 dogs along the walk, but they usually sit directly next to the airport fence. Do not approach them, just simply ignore them. They only bark but won’t run after you.
|FOCAL LENGTH||RWY 25 arrivals at touch-down point, 100-200mm for A320/B737|