[SPOTTINGREPORT][ INN / LOWI ] Innsbruck January 2017

On January 28th 2017 my colleague Michaela and I were in Innsbruck [ INN / LOWI ] to spot the heavy winter charter.

Airport [ INN / LOWI ]

The airport Innsbruck is located 4km away from the center of Innsbruck. It is easy reachable with the bus line F from the center of Innsbruck.
This airport is on place three in Austria regarding the passenger traffic. The biggest part of this traffic occurs during the winter charter.
There is one concrete runway (08/26) with a length of 2000m and one grass runway (08/26) with a length of 350m.
Because of the special geographical location (approach from the east above the city), just aircrafts with very low sound emissions according ICAO noise protection classification III are allowed to land in Innsbruck.
For the approach from the west a special pilot training is necessary, because it is a very uncommon and difficult approach.
Innsbruck is also an eldorado for glider pilots, because of the very good thermal near the mountains.

Traffic

The biggest part of the annual traffic occurs in the winter months from December to March.
The annual traffic in 2016 was slightly above one million passengers.
This year most of the traffic was operated by Boeing 737, Airbus A319/320 and Bombardier QSeries.
More special aircraft types were Boeing 757, Airbus A321, BAe 146 / Avro RJ100, Fokker 100/70 and Dornier 328.

Most of the charter traffic in 2017 was caused by Austrian, British and Scandinavian airlines.

Overview:
Austrian: Austrian Airlines; Niki;
British: British Airways; Thomas Cook; Thomson Airways; Monarch Airways; easyJet;
Scandinavian: Finnair; SAS; Braathens Regional; Danish Air Transport;
Dutch: Transavia;
Others: Atlantic Airways

Spotting

In this category I only describe the used spotting locations. You will find no secondhand information here.

The best day for spotting in Innsbruck in the winter is Saturday, because on this day there is the main part of the weekly charter traffic.

INN Spotterpoints
INN Spotterpoints
Observation Deck

The airport Innsbruck offers an observation deck directly above the apron which is open the whole day. There is no glass or safety net in front of you, so you can spot without any problem.
During the day, there are a lot of spotters on the observation deck. You can meet a lot of new people there.

At approximately 5 o’clock in the morning you can spot a big amount of aircrafts from Austrian Airlines which have an overnight stay there.
Therefore, you need a tripod and maybe a fisheye lens. Of course you can take some classic night shots from the deck too.

The observation deck is a very good spotting point throughout the whole day in winter, because the sun is always in your back. Additionally, you have an excellent view on the beautiful mountains in front of you.
For pictures of taxiing aircrafts you need a lens with approximately 100mm focal length (A320). For runway pictures you need approximately 250mm focal length (A320).

Along the fence on the west side of the gate

There is a pedestrian way along the fence in west direction of the gate until the end of the runway.

A lot of popular spotting positions along the runway are equipped with spotter holes, where you can put your lenses through.
But the fence itself is very thin, so you can also take pictures through it.
For takeoff pictures you need a lens with less than 100mm focal length if you want to have the mountains in the background. (Highly recommended)
These are good positions from afternoon until noon because then you have the sun in your back.

There is also a possibility to take frontal pictures through spotter holes. Here you have an awesome background with the city and the mountains.
For this kind of pictures you can use the longest lens you have.
Also for this position, the best time is afternoon until noon.

Summary

I can recommend a visit at Innsbruck Airport for spotting. The airport is very ‘spotter-friendly’ and the background is incomparable.

PROs
  • 24hours opened observation deck
  • free entry to the observation deck
  • easy to reach by public transport
  • pedestrian ways along the airport fence
  • beautiful background (mountains)
  • spotter holes in the fence
  • heavy winter charter
CONs
  • few traffic in summer

 

This spotting report states my opinion about the mentioned airport. If you have comments or feedback, please use the comment function below.

Text & Pictures: Kurt Trattner

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