Guide to Manchester Airport

Contributors: BMI Alan, dan330, G-WWBB, joejoe, photofocus, Stu-D
Updated Saturday 17th December, 2011

ICAO Code: EGCC
IATA Code: MAN

Latitude: N53° 21' 12"
Longitude W2° 16' 44"

Sunrise Today: 07:08
Sunset Today: 18:49

Manchester is the 3rd busiest in the UK behind the two London Airports of Heathrow and Gatwick. Although the bulk of movements are UK charter airlines there are a growing number of scheduled carriers from around the world. As a result the airport now has two runways of around 10,000ft long. Usually runways 23R / L (changed recently from 24R / L) are in use, 23L (new runway) is used for departures while 23R is used for arriving aircraft. If the 05's are used then 05R is used for landings with 05L used for take-offs.
In order to facilitate ATC training there are new runway opening times, these are as follows:
From 12th Dec > 24th Feb 12.
Mon - Fri, Dual runway operations will be 0630-0930, and 1800-2000.
Sat, 0630-0930.
Sun, 1800-2000.

To complete lighting upgrades on 23R / 05L, single runway operations (23L / 05R) will be in effect from:
Sun-Thur 2130-0630

All other times, the airport will be using single runway operations using 05L / 23R.

Out of all UK airports, Manchester is probably the best for viewing and photography with many very good spots. As a general rule the spots on the southside are good for photography in the morning, with those on the northside being good for late afternoon / early evening.

Map Information - The google map below is very outdated. The satellite view however is far more recent.

Radio Frequencies Radio Frequencies

Approach: 118.575
Delivery: 121.700
Director: 121.350
Ground: 121.850
Runway 1 Tower: 118.625
Runway 2 Tower: 119.400

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Partly Cloudy Manchester Airport Weather

All times on the weather descriptions are local

Observed at 16:20 - (30 mins ago)

Partly Cloudy

20°C

Partly Cloudy
Clouds: Few Clouds at 3,200ft, Scattered Clouds at 4,800ft
Wind: 190° at 10 knots
Visibility: Greater than 10km
QNH: 1021
Dew Point: 13°C
Runway in Use: Runways 23L/R

Movements

A sample of the upcoming movements for Manchester.

October 2014

Sun 26th

New Service
Arr: 08:25, Dep: 08:50 - New daily service to Shannon (SNN). Flight times change for SAT/SUN. Operated by an SNN based aircraft every day ex SAT/SUN. Flight nos. FR4776/4777.
New Service
Arr: 19:30, Dep: 16:35 - New 4 x weekly service to Eindhoven commences. Operates MON/WED/FRI/SUN on 737-8AS(WL). Flight Nos. FR3234/3235.

Mon 27th

New Service
Arr: 10:35, Dep: 12:25 - Service to Reykjavik-Keflavik increases from 3 x weekly to 4 x weekly. Will operate MON/WED/FRI/SUN on 757-200(WL) aircraft. Flight nos. FI440/441.

Tue 28th

New Service
Arr: 01:35, Dep: 15:55 - Weekly service to Las Palmas resumes. Flight nos. TOM2562/2563.

Thu 30th

New Service
Arr: 11:05, Dep: 12:35 - Service to Las Vegas (LAS) to operate throughout W14/15. Flight nos. VS85/86. Flights to operate THU/SUN on 747-400 aircraft.

Photo Spot Spot A - Terminal 1 Car Park Roof

The Car Park offers reasonable views of the international pier on Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. However other parts of the airport are restricted (especially Terminal 3 BA, AA and domestic). Photography is good with two problems, there are fences around with a only a few holes at certain points from which to take photo's and only aircraft using Terminal 2 and certain stands on Terminal 1 can be photographed without obstructions.

With the car park charges it is also the most expensive spot at Manchester.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 21' 49" (N53° 21.815')
Longitude: W2° 16' 27" (W2° 16.449')

Photos

Photo 46505
Focal Length: 190mm
Photo 46503
Focal Length: 70mm
Photo 46123
Focal Length: 190mm
Photo 46122
Focal Length: 150mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot B - Aviation Viewing Park

This is the official viewing area and offers excellent views and good photo opportunities. The area is situated close to the general aviation and maintanence areas and not far from Runway 23R / 05L. Before the new runway was built it was great for departing shots, but now most departures use the new runway (except between 1200 and 1500) then these are harder to get. All arriving aircraft can be photographed though as they vacate the runway and larger aircraft types can be taken as they taxi out to 23L. From a spotters point of view this is probably the best spot as all aircraft can be seen and there are facilities (food, toilets etc) situated nearby. Photography is only possible in the late afternoon.
Thanks to Wendy Smith for pointing out that Dogs are not allowed in the Viewing Park.

Open every day from 0800 until dusk

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 21' 15" (N53° 21.253')
Longitude: W2° 16' 58" (W2° 16.967')

Photos

Photo 46765
Focal Length: 170mm
Photo 46763
Focal Length: 115mm
Photo 46762
Focal Length: 135mm
Photo 46761
Focal Length: 170mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot C - Southside 23L End

Perhaps the best spots for photography at Manchester are on the southside of the airfield. The area is a walkers route which runs for the whole length of the new runway (23L / 05R) on one side and about half way on the otherside. You can walk the length of the runway and around the 05R end with great views and photographic opportunities and you can also reach the other side of the runway (spot 6 - afternoon spot) by walking under the tunnel about halfway down on the left hand side (as you look at the tunnel).
The 23L end is very good for close-up photos as aircraft line-up on the runway. Photography is good in the morning.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 20' 54" (N53° 20.902')
Longitude: W2° 16' 26" (W2° 16.428')

Photos

Photo 46021
Focal Length: 49mm
Photo 45745
Focal Length: 400mm
Photo 45581
Focal Length: 31mm
Photo 45471
Focal Length: 150mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot D - Southside 05R End

Some great take-off or landing shots can be taken depending on which runway is in use. Remember though that this runway closes between 1200 and 1500 daily. A visit to spot 5 may be in order during this time if the 05's are in use.
This is my favourite spot at Manchester, you are very close to the aircraft (100mm will be too much for side on views with anything like a 767) and the fence is way below you, you don't have to work to keep it out of your photos. Photography is good in the morning.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 20' 15" (N53° 20.251')
Longitude: W2° 17' 42" (W2° 17.693')

Photos

Photo 46681
Focal Length: 7.2mm
Photo 46678
Focal Length: 100mm
Photo 46677
Focal Length: 125mm
Photo 46676
Focal Length: 170mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot E - End of 05L

The walkway from spots 3 and 4 goes along one side of the new runway, but also goes under it and onto the other side, allowing you to get close to the end of 05L. A slightly longer lens will be required though (I use 300mm maximum). You can get shots as aircraft line up and approach shotsfrom an area a few feet away but its only good when 06L is in use, one of the few choices when the 05R is closed between 1200 and 1500.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 20' 35" (N53° 20.587')
Longitude: W2° 17' 50" (W2° 17.825')

Photos

Photo 44224
Focal Length: 82.4mm
Photo 44212
Focal Length: 50.6mm
Photo 44078
Focal Length: 235mm
Photo 44076
Focal Length: 260mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot F - 23L / 05R Northside

As stated, you can get to virtually anywhere you want around the new runway. This includes the Northside of the runway which is best late in the afternoon as the sun goes around. The area here is very similar to Spot 4 but on the opposite side of the runway, you are very close and only a small lens is required.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 20' 20" (N53° 20.337')
Longitude: W2° 18' 1" (W2° 18.015')

Photos

Photo 46420
Focal Length: 300mm
Photo 46419
Focal Length: 276mm
Photo 46418
Focal Length: 135mm
Photo 46375
Focal Length: 225mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot G - Southside - 05L Departure Spot

This spot allows you to get a good view of aircraft departing 05L. The field is located further along from spot 3 meaning you can get rotation shots of aircraft departing 05L. The field is fairly distant from the runway and so will suffer from heat haze especially in the summer and a very long lens is needed.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 21' 12" (N53° 21.207')
Longitude: W2° 15' 45" (W2° 15.743')

Photos

Photo 46009
Focal Length: 135mm
Photo 45985
Focal Length: 400mm
Photo 45984
Focal Length: 250mm
Photo 45739
Focal Length: 21mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot H - Southside - 23R Arrival Field

This spot lies at the very end of 23R. It allows short final approach shots for aircraft arriving on 23R. A part of the ground can usually be included in the shot. Although not the best spot in the world it is one of the few areas to get an action shot of aircraft arriving on 23R.
As from April 2011, this spot is now undergoing heavy excatvation work to make way for a Car Park, therefore the 'mounds' have now been levelled. But as you walk through the field from Moss Lane, their seems to be another mound but does look temporary at the moment. Its located just passed the stream and is still possible to get landing/taxi shot.

There are currently two mounds that can still be used to get good landing/taxi shots. Although heavy machinery is still evident, work on and around the 'mounds' appears to be spasmodic. Work is also being undertaken by the airport at the end of the runway which means that most aircraft are departing further away on the main runway, which will require using a longer lens.( As at 7th Aug.2011 )

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 21' 30" (N53° 21.493')
Longitude: W2° 15' 22" (W2° 15.36')

Photos

Photo 45741
Focal Length: 180mm
Photo 45630
Focal Length: 400mm
Photo 45626
Focal Length: 180mm
Photo 45625
Focal Length: 300mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot I - Terminal 3 Car Park

The top of the terminal 3 short stay car park offers views across the end of 23R and is a good spot to get arriving aircraft on a late summers afternoon, evening. Pretty useful aside from that, the sun never quite works its way around in the winter.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 21' 44" (N53° 21.731')
Longitude: W2° 16' 6" (W2° 16.094')

Photos

Photo 39834
Focal Length: 94mm
Photo 39780
Focal Length: 91mm
Photo 39770
Focal Length: 118mm
Photo 39769
Focal Length: 200mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot J - Airport Pub

The airport pub is popular among the locals and idea for an outing especially in the summer to chill out in the beer garden and watch the aircraft. The pub is located at the threshold on runway 23R. Aircraft taxi very close to the fence with landing and departing aircraft only a few feet away.
Photography from here though is not recommended. The area looks into the sun the vast majority of the day and maybe only the early summer evening being the time when photos become possible.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N53° 21' 48" (N53° 21.799')
Longitude: W2° 15' 28" (W2° 15.469')

Photos

Photo 36787
Focal Length: 119mm
Photo 29677
Focal Length: 90mm
Photo 29676
Focal Length: 85mm
Photo 27608
Focal Length: 100mm

View more photos taken at this location

Comments Comments About This Airport / Guide

Posted by: mark richardso United Kingdom
Tuesday 8th July, 2014 at 13:55 GMT
try tas flightchecker telsl you monthy scheduled departures available from shop on carpark roof or delivered monthly as i get it
Posted by: Peter United Kingdom
Thursday 5th June, 2014 at 13:05 GMT
Can anyone provide me with any info on B B near the viewing park.

Thanks
Posted by: Colin Greenwood United Kingdom
Thursday 6th March, 2014 at 20:59 GMT
hi is their a online timetable for arrivals and departures. for spotters for a month in avance
Posted by: Ian United Kingdom
Tuesday 3rd December, 2013 at 16:02 GMT
I'd love to get some night shots of Manchester - anyone know where would be the best spot to go to get good shots of landing, departing and taxying aircraft?
Posted by: helen b hasan United Kingdom
Monday 11th November, 2013 at 11:43 GMT
Hi I'm ever so grateful if somebody can please tell me the best place at or around Manchester Airport where I can take my little nephew to watch planes. It's his birthday this week and I want to surprise him and take him to watch the planes.
Posted by: NSA66 United Kingdom
Saturday 28th September, 2013 at 03:29 GMT
Great guide but I'm a bit confused by the descriptions. These refer to spots 1, 2, 3 etc. but the individual sections are labelled as spots A, B, C... Do I assume that spot 1 is the same as spot A or is the text in need of amendment?
Posted by: joanne United Kingdom
Sunday 1st September, 2013 at 21:22 GMT
When is the best day / time to see planes taking off close to the airport pub beer garden? Went the other day but only saw landings, we could only see the take offs way off in the distance.
Posted by: Tony W United Kingdom
Sunday 4th August, 2013 at 14:31 GMT
I am after the highest ground to manchester airport Ive tried near monks road glossop, which is some distance and i was wondering if anyone could recommend a closer spot (for night photography) towards the airport even just a few hundred feet of altitude would be great.

Thanks for reading
Tony
Posted by: lawrenceharrop United Kingdom
Friday 2nd August, 2013 at 14:31 GMT
hi any one tell me the latest car park prices, heard there charging by the hour (can't believe it )
Posted by: Nigel United Kingdom
Wednesday 31st July, 2013 at 01:33 GMT
Exit M56 junction 6 signed freight terminal Wilmslow Hale A538
Follow Wilmslow A538 turn right at lights at end of junction slip road
this will take you under both runways at the first roundabout turn left then immediate right you can park in that lane you can also park on the verge if the lane is full . there are two gates one will take you on the bollington trail and the other will take you alongside runway 23 left climb over the gate which the road leads up to 23 left there is a grass bank above the fence great spot to get close up to all aircraft for pictures or video. Hope that helps you Saun.
Posted by: Shaun Thompson United Kingdom
Thursday 11th July, 2013 at 11:02 GMT
Southside 23l. Where is the best place to park and watch aircraft taking off or landing from this runway. I need directions from airport at the end of the motorway roundabout please coming off the m56.

thanks shaun
Posted by: Johnnyboy United Kingdom
Thursday 20th June, 2013 at 18:07 GMT
Hi, can you confirm the arrival time for the AN225 on Monday please? MAN's twitter feed seemed to suggest 11:30am. Thanks.
Posted by: Markr United Kingdom
Saturday 4th May, 2013 at 11:45 GMT
Hi guys

Thinking of a trip to the airport bub .... Via motorcycle .. are the charges for parking the same as cars..
Thankyou ..
Posted by: Andy Reynolds United Kingdom
Tuesday 19th February, 2013 at 10:20 GMT
Going to manchester for weekend and i would like to know if you can walk or bus to aviation viewing park,from Airport Railway Station.

Thanks
Posted by: jon smythe United Kingdom
Wednesday 26th December, 2012 at 09:21 GMT
our house is in sandbach(cheshire!)and,listening to aircraft, i frequently hear M/C control directing planes to "vector DANE". the aircraft then apears, flies over the house low then heads in the direction of Midllewich/Northwich. i assume 'Dane' is in that area (River Dane i presume) but where it it exactly? when they reach Dane, the aircraft veers sharply right and, descending, assumes it's flight path for landing. i'm a novice to all this so any assistance would be welcome! (richbroom298@gmail.com)
Posted by: zigazaga United Kingdom
Friday 23rd November, 2012 at 20:00 GMT
Guys! I was recently chased away from the top of the heathrow cargo terminal's car park by security. What I'm looking for is the best view of an entire airport - really don't care which one, as long as I can get some wide angle shots with as much activity as possible - not interested in close-ups, as I just want to produce some short video clips of lots going on. I saw on this site that manchester and schipol are the best airports for this and would be prepared to travel, if I knew in advance where to find a good vantage spot, if possible filming during sunrise or sunset and after dark - I happen to be interested in long exposures and time lapse film, certainly not terrorism, in which case I wouldn't be using a tripod and a big camera!
Posted by: jamie United Kingdom
Monday 22nd October, 2012 at 17:31 GMT
Hi. Im thinking about coming to Manchester for the day in the winter months, and was just wondering if you can stop in your car and still see the planes at Spot B Aviation Viewing Park.
Many Thanks
Posted by: Paul Morgan United Kingdom
Saturday 20th October, 2012 at 19:38 GMT
Eddie, There's a bit of street furniture to avoid where you describe, but see below for a place just around the corner on Styal Road which is better and a clear view of approaching planes. I'm suprised it's not been commented on previously. Put the map above onto satellite and you can see it clearly.
Posted by: Paul Morgan United Kingdom
Saturday 20th October, 2012 at 19:30 GMT
In addition to the spots mentioned above a good spot to get aircraft on finals to 23R is from the Premier Inn / Heald Green station car park on Finney Lane. Parking is only 1 for three hours, and there are shops nearby. Also handy for arrival by train. Heavies are Ok, but smaller planes can be a little high still. However if you walk from here, about 10 mins, to Styal Road, then head south you soon come to a low fence overlooking a field marked on most maps as Moss Nook Industrial area. The approach lights extend through here and planes are much lower and a better angle for photographs. It's Manchester's equivalent to Myrtle Avenue at Heathrow. You'll not be bothered, apart from curious passers by. The sun is OK until around 1600
Posted by: Eddie the Eagle United Kingdom
Monday 15th October, 2012 at 16:08 GMT
Can anyone comment on the suitability of the short cul-de-sac off Ringway Road, opposite the Tatton Arms, on the right before raching the main Styal road from the airport? Looking at Google Maps, it seems ideal for approach shots, but I've never heard of anyone using it.

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