Bahrain International airport annex Muharraq Air Base dominates an island measuring just 6km across, northeast of the main island of Bahrain. It is the home base of Gulf Air and an important NATO logistics base. Typically, a few VC-10s and C-2As will be present. Like elsewhere in the Middle East, traffic is growing rapidly and heavy construction work is in progress on the airport. Not in the last place because of the military presence, security is tight. Be aware, plane spotting is neither understood nor appreciated in Arab countries!
Of two parallel runways, the southern one serves as a main taxiway most of the time. The passenger terminal is on the Main Apron while the Middle Apron has expanded to handle various flights. Tucked away between this and the West Apron is the Royal Flight (formerly Amiri Flight) base. The West Apron sees cargo handling plus the majority of military activity on its western half. Finally, the North Apron is used mainly by USN and USAF. The field is surrounded by walls and fences.
Flying in is easy, many airlines serve Bahrain. By car one just follows the signs out of Manamah and crosses one of three bridges into Muharraq town and on to the airport.
Around the Airport
A small park lies along the water directly under finals for both runways 30. Both the parking lot and the beach will accomodate cars. Spotting and photography are good here and do not seem to upset locals. However, there may be trouble if passers-by start giving overdone reports about your activities to the police.
Before check-in there is not much to see here, but once airside many aircraft can be logged and even photographed from the departure lounge. This has windows along a large part of the main apron. Sometimes, security will allow taking photos from here.
Several roads between the businesses lead to spots where a handful of registrations may be read. Photography is possible now and then but likely not appreciated.
A little away from the aiport (and the military terminal situated on this side!) this spot along the water offers a view on landings from the west. Departures in opposite direction are visible too but quite high for photos. Helos departing from the West Apron can often be read off here.
All along this road aircraft come into view and often can be logged with suitable optics. The use of these however will attract curious looks and perhaps worse. Photography is no option here.
Early 2008, Gulf Air was completing the re-registration of its fleet from Oman to Bahrain, and applying a new colour scheme. This A340 still had the previous livery, and was photographed with permission from the terminal. (Eric Raadschelders)
|121.675 / 121.850||Ground|
|118.500 / 344.000||Tower|
|Bahrain International Airport||Official website|