Switzerland is regarded worldwide as a spotter’s paradise thanks to the combination of interesting air traffic and beautiful locations.
Zurich Airport is one of the most spotter-friendly in the world. The public observation deck that was opened in December 2011 has further heightened the appeal of ZRH. Visitors can enjoy unobstructed views of the apron and runways and consult the notice boards for information about the various aircraft in action. With a simple press of a button visitors can listen to the radio communication taking place between the tower and the aircraft. The area around the airport also caters to the needs of aircraft enthusiasts. The Heligrill in Rümlang and the visitor car park beneath the approach path in Oberglatt are well known locations. There are numerous advantageous spots for shutterbugs on the footpaths and cycling trails that more or less circumnavigate the airport. At certain locations there are official gaps in the fencing that allow photographers to get clear shots of aircraft taking off and landing.
The observation deck in Basel also recently re-opened. Unfortunately, however, there is a glass partition between camera and airplane. Depending on the position of the sun this can impede somewhat with photography. On the French side of the airport, by contrast, one has an unobstructed view. Plane spotters regularly gather at the “Bélvèdere” to share the latest news. Although the airport is on the small side, some very tasty aircraft appear from time to time thanks to the presence of Lufthansa Technical Services, JetAviation and AirService Basel.
During the winter months Geneva is a mecca for charter flights transporting skiers from the UK. Many people visiting Switzerland for a winter resort vacation use Geneva as the way-station en route to their holiday destination. The presence of many international organisations in Geneva generates plenty of air traffic here, making the local airport a place of interest for spotters. Good viewing locations exist on either side of the airport. The small park on the French side is a particularly advantageous location from which to take good photographs of aircraft landing or queuing up with Mont Blanc as an impressive backdrop.
Other airports in Switzerland
Situated at 1707 metres above sea level amid a stunning alpine setting is Europe’s highest airfield, Samedan-St. Moritz, a highlight for any plane spotter. On weekends it is a magnet for spotters, particular if a special event such as the St. Moritz polo tournament is taking place. Bern-Belp and Lugano-Agno both appeal, too, on the basis of their charm and regional traffic.
An aviation-themed trip through Switzerland is always worthwhile!