Amman Marka Airport is the second largest airport in Jordan. It serves the purpose of domestic flights, charter flights, trans-border international flights to Iraq, Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Egypt, and as a military base of RJAF. It is pretty common to see USAF, US Navy or US Marines airplanes at the airport.
Beware, plane spotting is neither understood nor appreciated in Jordan.
Amman Marka Airport has a single runway south west - north east (06/24). The airport is located in the north east part of Amman, on the border with city of Zarqa. The military occupy the southern and central part of the airport. Royal Jordanian Air Academy is located in the central-west part of the airport, next to the terminal and charter ramps, while cargo ramps are located on the north east part of the airport. WFU frames are scattered in the central part of the airport on both sides of the runway.
The easiest way to get to Marka airport is to take a taxi. From most downtown hotels the fare will be about 4 Euros. You can also hire a car with a driver for about 50-60 Euros / half day or hire a taxi per hour for about 30 Euros / half day.
Around the Airport
When you get to the main gate of the airport (300 metres from the terminal) you will have to go through a military checkpoint. All passengers have to go through it. Ask soldiers for the Royal Jordanian Gliding Club. That way you will be allowed to enter without flying. You will walk to the left of the passenger terminal. Just follow the sidewalk until you arrive at the second military checkpoint within the airport. You will tell the soldiers that you are going to the glider club. They will x-ray your backpack/camera bag. From there you will have an open view on the entire passenger, charter, military and storage ramps on your right.
2Glider Club - Runway 24
To the left (east) of spot 1 you will see one story high buildings where the glider club is located. Enter the club and introduce yourself. Explain that you are aviation enthusiast and that you would like to watch glider flights. People in the club are very friendly and 9 out of 10 times they will take you in the pickup truck, drive you across Royal Jordanian Air Academy ramp and charter ramp to a spot which is ten metres away from runway 24 where all the glider activities are happening on the weekends (Friday/Saturday). From there you will have unobstructed view of the entire cargo ramp, passenger terminal ramp, charter ramp, fixed wing military ramp and RJ Air Academy.
For the price of 30 Jordanian Dinars (30 Euro), you can take a flight in a German-built Grob 103 glider. If the winds are calm, no glider flights will take place. Then you can stay outside the glider club in spot 1 on the map and write down and/or photograph aircraft on the ramps. Cameras are ok, but we do not recommend taking binoculars with you to the airport if you plan on going to the glider club.
To get to this spot you need to have a car. You can hire a taxi for half a day for about 30 Euros. This spot is located on the eastern side of the airport, next to a cement factory on the street called Omar Al Zahri. This is very quiet street and its right next to the fence. About 500 meters away there is a military tower with guards. You can pull over behind old shacks. That way you will not be visible from the tower and you can enjoy spotting/photography hassle free. Most of the time winds are from the south so runway 24 is nearly always in use. From this location nothing will escape you. Everything will taxi, take-off and land in front of you. If you are after numbers then you should arrive there as early as possible to avoid heat haze on the ramps.
From spot no.3 drive south and then west towards the hill on Moaweya Ben Abi Sufyan street. This street is located on the hill so the view is overlooking all the helicopter ramps and RJAF hangars. Just pull over on the side of the street where you will not be visible from the guard’s tower.
You are really close to the action at spot 2, at the glider club. Rafal Szczypek pictured this SunAir B767 from here.
Photography from the outside is possible as well, from spot 3 where Rafal Szczypek made this B737.
|Scanners are illegal in Jordan and you can end up in jail if they find one on you.|