Manchester is one of the busier airports in the UK. A lot of charter traffic and a nice variety of scheduled airliners visit the airport each day. The main operator is FlyBe with a fleet of Dash-8s and E-jets based here. Manchester is also unique in the UK as it is both a busy airport and a spotter-friendly airport. There are several good photo points around the airport.
The airport has two parallel runways running south west to north east. The thresholds are about halfway the other runway. The oldest terminal is immediately north west of runway 05L/23R, with a newer extension to the north west of that. Maintenance areas are south west of the oldest terminal area.
Manchester-Ringway is south west of the city centre. Easy accessible by all means of transport, close to major motorways, linked to the rail network and several low-cost airlines flying into here. By car you can easily reach it from the M56. Directions to the airport are clearly marked with signs.
Around the Airport
On the top of the carpark in Terminal 1, you have a nice view over the airport. All aircraft can be seen, either during landing or take-off. Picures can be taken through holes in the fence. Best time is in the morning for aircraft taxiing to and from T2.
2Runway Viewing Park
On the opposite side of the terminals, past the hangar area, is a nice viewing park. It is possible to spend an whole day here, restaurants and toilets are on site. For pedestrians it is free to come here. If you come here by car it will cost between from £3-12 per day, depending on how long you will stay. It is also very good for pictures, especially in the afternoon, when you have the sun in your back.
Preserved here are a Concorde, BAe146-RJX and a HS121 Trident Three, amongst others. Tours of the Concorde are available during the day, but you have to book your tickets one or two days in advance because it is often fully booked. Recently, a Nimrod arrived here. Unfortunately it is not open every day, so it is advisable to inform prior to you visit. During weekends, there is a bus service to and from the airport. The bus connection is a bit of a hassle.
3Runway 23L (landing)
Opposite of the viewing park, a walkway leads along the whole length of runway. From here, you can get close to the threshold of runway 23L. It is best for photography in the morning as you will find the sun crossing the runway centreline mid afternoon.
From this spot you have a good view of the aircraft approaching runway 23R. It is a good for pictures as well. The spot is located at the junction between Shadowmoss Road and Ringway Road. Since you are in a residential area here, please keep in mind where you park your car.
From this spot, you will have a good view of runway 23R. The spot used to be ideal for making photos of aircraft that are lining up for departure but the newly situated car parks made photography more difficult. Landing photos are possible here as well. The light is best in the morning. At the end of a small footpath are some piles of gravel. Climbing this will give you a great view upon the airfield.
6Runway 05R/23L (am)
Over here, you are very close to the runway without having to bother about a fence. You will have a perfect view of the take-off and landing action on runway 05R/23L. For photos, the light is best in the morning.
7Runway 05R/23L (pm)
This spot is identical to spot 6, but the location of the sun is better here in the afternoon. You can get here by taking the tunnel underneath the runway. This tunnel is located next to the river that also crosses the runway. You can also come here by car, using Small Lane and Wood Lane.
The Airport Hotel is a pub and hotel situated at the beginning of runway 23R. The hotel itself is located along taxiway Juliet and is a great spot for observing aircraft landing at runway 23R.
No telezoom was needed to capture this Thomas Cook Boeing 767 lining up at runway 23L. The photo was made by Kees van Boven from spot 3.
|Aberdeen-Dyce   subscribers only|
|Barkston Heath (RAF)|
|Benson (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Boscombe Down (QinetiQ)|
|Bournemouth (Hurn)   subscribers only|
|Bristol - Lulsgate   subscribers only|
|Brize Norton (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Cardiff (Rhoose)   subscribers only|
|Chester (Hawarden)   subscribers only|
|Church Fenton (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Cottesmore (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Cranwell (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Culdrose (RNAS)   subscribers only|
|Durham Tees Valley (Teesside)   subscribers only|
|East Midlands   subscribers only|
|Edinburgh   subscribers only|
|Fairford (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Glasgow - Prestwick   subscribers only|
|Glasgow Intl (Abbotsinch)|
|Lakenheath (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Leeds Bradford   subscribers only|
|Leeming (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Leuchars   subscribers only|
|Linton-on-Ouse (RAF)   subscribers only|
|London - City   subscribers only|
|London - Gatwick   subscribers only|
|London - Heathrow|
|London - Luton   subscribers only|
|London - Stansted|
|Lossiemouth (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Lyneham (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Marham (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Middle Wallop   subscribers only|
|Mildenhall (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Netheravon   subscribers only|
|Newcastle   subscribers only|
|Northolt (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Norwich   subscribers only|
|Odiham (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Scampton (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Southampton - Eastleigh   subscribers only|
|St. Mawgan - Newquay Cornwall Airport   subscribers only|
|Syerston (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Valley (RAF) - Anglesey|
|Wales Low Flying Area 7|
|Wattisham (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Wittering (RAF)   subscribers only|
|Yeovilton (RNAS)   subscribers only|