Farnborough Airport (IATA: FAB, ICAO: EGLF) is located in Hampshire around 60 Km southwest of Central London. It is widely known for the Farnborough International Airshow which is held every 2 years alternating with the Paris Air Show (even years at FAB, uneven years at Paris LBG). But it is also a major hub for business/executive general aviation. With around 30,000 movements per year FAB has the second highest number of private jet movements in the Greater London area after London Luton and also ranks in the Top 10 in Europe. The Terminal and all other facilities are catering exclusively for general aviation traffic and apart from some corporate shuttle flights for British Aerospace there are no regular scheduled flight at FAB.
Given its clientele and cost structure FAB attracts a large number of bigger private jets in the Falcon, Gulfstream, Legacy and Global Express category. Outside the air show dates the aircraft size is capped at B737BBJ2/A320ACJ size due to noise restrictions. Besides the usual large business jet operators like NetJets, VistaJet, Air Hamburg etc there is also a fair share of more exotic business jets from around the globe visiting FAB.
In addition to the regular traffic FAB is also home to a big new Gulfstream MRO facility and TAG Maintenance Services.
Due to noise restrictions the airfield opening timings are 0700 – 2200 Monday to Fridays and 0800 – 2000 on Weekends and Bank Holiday.
Farnborough was the UK’s first airfield and home to the country’s first powered flight in 1908. After serving the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for almost 8 decades as a centre of military and civil aviation research civil aviation operations started in 1989.
Written by Mike Lutzenberger. Last Update: October 2022
How was your trip? Rate this airport!
| (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
|Terminal 1||One terminal exclusive for GA traffic|
|Ladder||Not needed on #1 and #3|
|Car/Public Transport||Car recommended for #1 and #2. Essential for #3.|
|Drinks/Food||In Farnborough town there are several supermarkets, fast food outlets and restaurants.|
|Hotels||The Aviator Hotel sits on a slope at the end of runway 24 and has rooms overlooking the airfield. Prices tend to range from £120 -£180. The is a Holiday Inn on Farnborough Road a couple of minutes’ drive from the Aviator. Several smaller hotels and a Premier Inn are situated in Farnborough town.|
|Season||Year round though summer will have more traffic. There will be more traffic when big events are happening in London or the Southeast of England like horse racing in Ascot.|
|Security||Generally, no issues with security. However, the Aviator Hotel is known not to like spotters on their grounds which are overlooking the runway. But good shots can be taken from public roads nearby. The author did not try to use these spots, especially #1 and #2 during the Farnborough Airshow but as there are usually road closures it is likely that they are not accessible or at least heavily restricted.|
|General Info||Runway 06/24 is used for all traffic.|
|Spot #1 – Trenchard Way|
|WHERE||Trenchard Way is running along the Eastern Perimeter of the airport underneath the approach for runway 24. However, there is no way to park. Instead take the A325 Farnborough Road which is connection to the M3 motorway. There is free parking outside the FAST Aviation Museum. Walk down the road to the right side of the museum for about 5 minutes to Trenchard Way and chose your favourite position along the airport fence. If you don’t have a car, you can walk here from Farnborough station in about 15 minutes. There are buses but they are fairly infrequent.|
|WHAT||Aircraft landing on runway 24, line ups on runway 24 and aircraft parked outside the Gulfstream MRO hangar.|
|TIME||Approach morning to mid-afternoon in the summer, almost all day in winter, Line up morning until midday, Gulfstream apron morning to mid-afternoon depending on parking position.|
|MISC.||No ladder needed and not recommended. Due to the distance it’s fine to shot through the fence. Heat haze can be an issue for line up and the Gulfstream apron.|
Approach ~60-85mm / Line up ~140mm / Gulfstream apron ~300mm
|Spot #2 – BAE SYSTHEMS Business Park|
|WHERE||From #1 continue driving south along A325 Farnborough Road for a couple of minutes until you reach the big roundabout at the Holiday Inn. Turn right into the private business park and continue straight on Aerospace boulevard over many speedbumps. Just before you reach the gate on the end of the road take the last road on the right and continue past the businesses until you reach the airport fence at the end of the road.|
|WHAT||Overlooking the runway and the business jets parked on the Delta ramp. Shots on the runway can be blocked by temporary fences or barriers inside the airfield. Heat haze can be an issue for the Delta ramp.|
|TIME||Mid morning to mid-afternoon in the summer, almost all day in winter|
|MISC.||You need a 2-3 step ladder to shot over the fence. All parking spots here belong to businesses and are clearly marked as such. Spotters are generally tolerated but this is probably not the best spot to stay a long time. Please move your car if you are asked to do so by a business owner. If you plan to stay longer it’s probably better to park further away though legal parking is hard to find in this private business estate.|
Runway ~60-85mm / Delta ramp ~140mm
|Spot #3 – Eelmoor bridge|
|WHERE||Instead of turning into the business park for #2 continue straight at the big roundabout on A325 Farnborough Road which becomes a dual carriage way. Take the next exit and turn right passing underneath the A325 Farnborough Road. Follow the street through the forest staying on the main road for about 2km until you reach a small right turn at Eelmoor bridge. You are now on a small hill at the 06 end of the runway. There are several parking spots both sides of the road.|
|WHAT||Good overview of airport and the main aprons.
Aircraft landing or taking off on runway 06 are passing in front of you. Aircraft landing on runway 24 usually don’t pass this spot as they vacate the runway early on taxiway F where they are quite far away. Take-offs from runway 24 are too high at this point. Due to prevailing winds runway 06 is rarely used. Additionally due to noise and air space restrictions the tower prefers runway 24 even if there are light winds from the east.
|TIME||Mid morning to mid-afternoon in the summer all day in winter|
|MISC.||The fence here is quite high so you need a high ladder or shot through the fence which is easy for departures. Alternatively, there is a small hill where you shot over the fence.|
Runway 06 ~140mm, Taxiway F (Hawker 800XP) 400mm plus cropping