Every day, dozens of aviation enthusiasts make their way to Brussels Airport, lured by the large variety of airlines, the latest aircraft types and the many government planes. To give spotters their own safe hangout, Brussels Airport built two spotting platforms in close cooperation with the neighbouring municipalities of Steenokkerzeel and Zaventem.
“We are keen to cater for the plane spotters and all of our fans in their call for a spotting platform to allow them to take better pictures. In close collaboration with the adjacent municipalities of Steenokkerzeel and Zaventem, we have been able to design and build two spotting platforms in a short space of time, which offer an unobstructed panoramic view of two runways and which at the same time serve as an informative and fun place to spend some time for families from the local area”, explains Brussels Airport Company CEO Arnaud Feist.
Brussels Airport tailored the design and the location of the spotter platforms to the wishes and preferences of the spotters. A survey was held which enabled 1,700 plane spotters to let us know what they felt is important in setting up a dedicated spotting place and what they believed this place should look like. We subsequently sat down with a smaller group of plane spotters to look into what could be done and what they wanted in greater detail.
Spotting platform 07R/25L in Steenokkerzeel
The first spotting platform at the Steenokkerzeel transit centre provides an excellent view of runway 25L/07R, which is mostly used for landing aircraft. Which explains why the area surrounding this runway is particularly popular among spotters and why it came out of the survey as the favourite spotting place in the survey. Courtesy of the raised platform, plane spotters now enjoy a clear view of the runway.
The car park at the transit centre was expanded with a few parking spaces for plane spotters. At the threshold of runway 25L too, along Kortenbergse Steenweg, a small car park was laid out to relieve local roads.
Spotting platform 01/19 in Zaventem
The second spotting platform is located near runway 01/19 in the Vliegbos woods. Runway 01/19 is used on weekends for part of the take-offs. When the weather conditions are such that runways 25L/R cannot be used, runway 01/19 is mostly used for landings. Here too, the raised platform now provides a clear and unobstructed view of this runway.
As the Vliegbos woods also attracts a lot of families and children, Brussels Airport also put up some outdoor play equipment and displays that provide information about the airport, popular aircraft types and buildings which can be seen from the spotting platform. Spotters can use the regular parking spaces in the vicinity of the woods.