Gibraltar International Airport (GIB/LXGB) is a civilian and military airport located in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, in the South of Spain at the Strait of Gibraltar that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea. The airport is located in the North part of the territory, directly at the spanish border. The only road connection leading from the neighbouring spanish town of La Linea de la Conception to Gibraltar’s city center crosses the airport runway, which makes it absolutely unique in the whole world. Every time an aircraft is approaching or taking off, the road (the four lanes wide Winston Churchill Avenue) is closed with barriers on both sides for several minutes, leading to long queues of vehicles and pedestrians, which are also allowed to cross the runway.
Strong winds from The Rock make landings on the short runway especially during the winter season quite tricky.
The airport was built during the Second World War with the construction of a small terminal building in 1959. In 2011 the current terminal building was opened, having a capacity of up to 1.5 million passengers per year.
Airport traffic is very limited with only a few flights each day, so it’s advisable to plan your trip in advance to avoid disappointment. Almost all flights arrive and depart to/from the UK with EasyJet being the dominant carrier, followed by British Airways. Twice a week there’s a flight to Tangier with Royal Air Maroc. In 2006 Iberia inaugurated a route to the spanish Capital of Madrid but withdraw this flight later. Nonetheless Gibraltar Airport is not only used by passengers visiting Gibraltar. In fact only 40% have Gibraltar as their final destination. 60% cross the border to Spain to spend their holidays on the nearby beaches or visit the spanish towns. Gibraltar Airport is also used by the Royal Air Force.
At the moment a new road connection including a tunnel under the threshold of runway 27 is being constructed. After its opening all traffic will use the new road and the crossing of the runway along Winston Churchill Avenue will be closed.
Take special care of the macaques monkeys when visiting The Rock. Usually they are harmless but you should not leave anything on the benches etc. other wise it can happen that the monkeys will steal it.
Written by Markus Mainka. Last Update: 2019
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| (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
|09/27||1777m x 46m|
|Terminals||Only civil passenger airport terminal being used for all operations.|
|Ladder||Not needed at all!|
|Car/Public Transport||Everything quite easily in walking distance from the terminal. A car is often not helpful because of limited parking.|
|Drinks/Food||Plenty shops and restaurants around.|
|Hotels||There are various around and also a new Holiday Inn opened, which should allow spotterviews.|
|Season||Summer allows to use more spots, but is hotter and the light is bad for the southern spots. Therefore you will have more traffic then. Every time of the year has its advantages.|
|Security||Spotting is absolutely no problem here only take care when crossing the runway and adjust to the local rules.|
|09/27||There is only one runway 09/27 in GIB being used in both directions depending on wind/direction/aircraft size.|
|Spot #1 – Airport Terraces – Runway + Apron movements|
|WHERE||This is an open air terrace, which can be used by all passengers, who passed security – this terrace has no windows.
There is also a landside terrace (as structural extension of the airside terrace) which access is inside the terminal building but this part is behind glass (but at least free of charge).
|WHAT||All movements on the runway and the apron.|
|TIME||Movements on the runway only have light during summer evenings (past 8pm), then the Rock is also illuminated by the last rays of sun. Aircraft taxiing towards the terminal building have light in the afternoon.|
|MISC.||Toilets, food and drinks inside the terminal building.|
300mm for the lineups / 40mm for the overviews
|Spot #2 – Rock of Gibraltar – Runway + Apron movements + Overview|
|WHERE||The famous Rock of Gibraltar is just south of the airport, can be climed and offers nice spots.
Eastern Spot: Great Siege Tunnels Entrance
Western Spot: Military Heritage Centre
It is not possible to drive a non-resident vehicle within the area of the Gibraltar Nature Reserve, Upper Rock, except in the case of Blue Badge holders. You are advised to take a Rock Tour, by taxi or by coach if pre-arranged, via Cable Car to the top of the Rock or on foot.
|WHAT||A: Fantastic overview of the whole airport and La Linea in Spain. Approach, all movements on the runway and the apron can be seen.
B: Overview of the western part of the runway, Winston Churchill Ave (the road crossing the runway), La Linea in Spain and Gibraltar town. You can see approach and lineup runway 09 and takeoffs runway 27.
|TIME||Morning until late afternoon.|
|MISC.||Pay attention at the macaques monkeys here. Do not leave anything on the benches, otherwise they will steel it. Once they have grabbed something, you have no chance to get it back as they are strong and fast. Also don’t annoy the monkeys or they can jump on you. Bring your drinks and food with you. But once again: Do not eat while monkeys are around.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||The longest lens you have (600mm is good for example) for movements on the runway. Overviews need 18-70mm roughly.|
|Spot #3 – Winston Churchill Ave – Runway/Apron movements|
|WHERE||Another very famous location is the “Winston Churchill Avenue” crossing the runway or rather its northern and southern end. Even pedestrians can use the road so we highly recommend to do so. You can park your car easily at the nearby supermarket or terminal.|
|WHAT||Watch the action at the barriers when an aircraft is approaching: See the traffic lights turning red, the cars stopping, the barriers going down, a vehicle cleaning the runway and aircraft landing and taking off. You are very close to the action.|
|TIME||All day, depending whether you are on the southern or northern part of the barriers.|
|MISC.||There is an Eroski Center supermarket directly at the northern end and a Cepsa petrol station near the southern end. Toilets inside the terminal building.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||18-200mm – depends on what you wanna shoot|
Spot #4 – Marina Bay – Runway movements
|WHERE||At the Gibraltar Marina on parts of some walkways – no exact position. Just search your favourite place between the boat entrances for a free sight on the runway.|
|WHAT||You can see landings and lineup runway 09 and decceleration runway 27. You are very close to the action.|
|TIME||Morning until late afternoon.|
|MISC.||There are some restaurants and small supermarkets at the Ocean Village. Keep a low profile although this area is publically accesible in order to avoid issues with boat owners/the habour/co.|
A320 = 70mm
Spot #5 – Mons Calpe Road – Runway movements
|WHERE||Follow Waterport Rd and N Mole Rd onto the reclamation area, then turn right into Mons Calpe Rd. You can stay at the shoreline or climb the stairs towards the residential area to have a higher position.|
|WHAT||You can see landings and lineup runway 09 and decceleration runway 27.|
|TIME||Morning until late afternoon.|
|MISC.||Nothing directly at the spot but there are supermarkets nearby.|
A319 = 100mm
|Spot #6 – Pier La Linea – Runway movements|
|WHERE||After leaving Gibraltar and arriving in La Linea turn left onto Av. Principe de Asturias. Turn left at the next roundabout leading to huge parking lots.|
|WHAT||You can see landings and lineup runway 09 and decceleration runway 27. In addition you have a wonderful view of the Rock.|
|TIME||This location is only sutable during summer evenings (past 8pm).|
|MISC.||Restaurants and supermarkets in La Linea. Heat haze can be an issue sometimes.|
A320 = 250mm