Photo courtesy of Jason Panesar


Frankfurt am Main Airport is a major international airport located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Run by transport company Fraport, Frankfurt Airport is by far the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Germany, the third busiest in Europe (after London Heathrow Airport & Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport) & the ninth busiest worldwide in 2011. Passenger traffic at Frankfurt Airport in 2011 was 56.4 million.

As of winter 2011/2012, the airport serves the most international destinations in the world, serving 275 destinations in 111 countries. With a freight throughput of 2.17 million metric tonnes in 2011 it is the busiest airport in Europe by cargo traffic.

The southern side of the airport ground was home to the Rhein-Main Air Base, which was a major air base for the United States from 1947 until 2005, when the air base was closed & the property was acquired by Fraport.

Frankfurt Airport is the main hub of Lufthansa, Germany’s flag carrier, & of Condor Flugdienst. The airport has been expanded several times since its opening in 1936 & has now two large terminals (Terminal 1 & Terminal 2), with a capacity of approximately 58 million passengers yearly, & four runways.

In recent years, major construction works were necessary to make the airport compatible for the Airbus A380, including a large maintenance facility for the type, as Lufthansa has stationed its Airbus A380 aircraft fleet at Frankfurt Airport.

On October 20, 2011, the fourth runway went into operation, which will allow the airport to meet the predicted demand of about 700,000 aircraft movements in 2020.

To handle the predicted passenger amount of about 90 million in 2020, Fraport has built a  new section adjacent to Terminal 1,  located to the west of the building, known as the A-Plus Pier, which opened on October 10 2012. It will allow for an additional six million passengers to be handled. A large third terminal, for 25 million passengers, is scheduled to be built beginning in 2013.

The new A-Plus terminal section will, together with Piers C/D & B, constitute the main focus of Lufthansa’s future Airbus A380 handling activities at Terminal 1. The pier, which cost €700 million, offers four A380 parking positions & three parking positions for the Boeing 747-8I.


Photo courtesy of Clive Hindmarch


Hahn Airport

Is located 10 km (6.2 mi) from the town of Kirchberg & 20 km (12 mi) from the town of Simmern in the Rhein-Hunsrück district of Rhineland-Palatinate to the west of central Germany. Despite its name, the airport is virtually equidistant between Frankfurt & Luxembourg—about 120 km (75 mi) to each city (by road); it is closer to Koblenz (about 70 kilometres / 43 miles) & Mainz (about 90 kilometres / 56 miles).

The airport is yet another example that has benefited from Low Cost Carrier, Ryanair’s, patronage. Hahn Airport, or as it prefers to be called, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, emerged after the closure of the Hahn air base, formally resident to the United States Air Force.

It could be considered a cheaper entry into Germany if you were to avail Ryanair of their services but I will assume the reader has a car in order to get around the various spotting points of interest here.

The first spotting two spotting opportunities can be undertaken without a car, namely the main ramp in front of the terminal & the small GA area. There are views to be had from inside the terminal from an upstairs cafe area but a better view is to be enjoyed from the multi-storey carpark in front of the terminal, the top floor giving a decent view but bear in mind it is mostly, if not all, Ryanair.

To the left of the terminal as you stand in front of it & a short walk is the small GA area. I say small because the most I have ever seen on there in all my visits are three aircraft though I am sure it could hold more if required. It is quite easy to see any visitor here as it is only a chain link fence separating you & them. Bear in mind that the police station is also located here though again, I have never been questioned about my activities.

Now a car would be required for all the other spotting locations. I was at this point going to go into detail from my knowledge of Hahn but I think it would be far better coming from a Hahn local spotter.

One spot the author of the website doesn’t seem to mention is the maintenance hangar near to the threshold of runway 21. You can access this by driving on the old military taxiways but beware, they are extremely pot-holed! There is a car park next to the hangar that allows you to see and photograph whatever may be on the apron outside and also, the hangar has rather large windows down the same side.

Editorial Note: For more information on the airport, airlines that operate there, as well as movements, spotting facilities and much more, please click here.

Airport information, courtesy of Clive Hindmarch

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