Spotting Guide to Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER/EDDB)

BER Main Terminal

Planespotting at Berlin Brandenburg Airport BER

After the closure of Berlin Tegel Airport TXL back in November 2020, all air traffic for the capital city Berlin is now concentrated in a single airport location.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport has 3 Terminals – the new T1 and T2 located in the center of the two parallel runways and T5. Terminal 5 is just a rebrand of the old Terminals used by Schönefeld SXF airport in the past.

Build to handle 46 million passengers a year BER Airport still has to prove its ability to do so. Opening in late 2020 under an all time low of air traffic, they have even decided to close Terminal 5 until demand picks up again.

Traffic wise some potentially interesting combinations can be expected. Most legacy carriers from Europe, low cost airlines and government jets are regular visitors. Once the pandemic situation is resolved more long haul carriers are expected to fly here again. So far Qatar Airways is the only airline sending scheduled wide-body aircraft here.

Airport Runways

Northern Runway 07L/25R:
3600x45m (11.811ft) asphalt

Southern Runway 07R/25L:
4000x60m (13.123ft) concrete

Runway Usage

Runway 07L/25R: for departures and arrivals

Runway 07R/25L: currently closed due to low traffic (March 2021)

Once traffic picks up again arrivals and departures will use both runways for landing and takeoff – parallel approaches are technically possible!

AIRBUS A340 BLADE Landing
German Air Force A321 Landing
Qatar Airways 787 Takeoff

Spotting Locations:

Location 1: P8-P7 Car Park

Located in the center curb of Terminals 1,2 and the Berlin Brandenburg BER Airport Train Station, this spot is sadly one of the only spots that is easy to reach by public transportation. It offers a good view on touchdowns on runway 25R. Aircraft from T1 departing on this runway will taxi close by and lighter aircraft might rotate in time so you can get a nice shot before it disappears into endless poles, antennas and buildings…

How to get there?:
By car: You could park in the parking garage but it is very expensive at 7 Euros per hour! Better drive to “Waßmannsdorf”, use the free Park+Ride car park and take the S-Bahn for 1 station to BER Airport.
Public transport: When coming out of the train station (inside the terminal) turn around and go outside on the plaza. Turn left to see the P8 car park. You will need to go to the top floor (7).

Facilities:
There is a Rewe supermarket inside the Main Terminal (open daily from 6-23). Toilets in the Terminal are free to use. Bring sun protection and enough water in the summer. Roof of the parking garage provides shade.
Please take all trash with you or deposit it in the bins near the elevator/terminal. Thank you

When?:
Light is good from late morning until sunset (in summer late evening).

Requirements:
Focal length: 100-600mm (A321 taxiing ~150mm, A319 rotation ~500mm, 787 touchdown ~380mm)
No ladder required.
Due to distance to the runway heat haze will be an issue here.

Qatar Airways 787 Touchdown Spot 1
Nordwind Airlines 737 Taxiing Spot 1
Pegasus A320neo Takeoff Spot 1
Panorama View Spot 1 BER Airport

Location 2: Small Hill for 07L Arrivals

In the small community of Waßmannsdorf you will find a small hill along the state road 96a. From the hill you will get a clear shot of aircraft approaching runway 07L. As the aircraft gets closer to the ground several lamp posts and trees will get in your way. This spot is backlit most of the time. Best in the early morning or summer evening before sunset. A nice bonus is the BER Terminal 1 is in the background. Potentially you can get it in the background for departures from runway 25R (other side).

How to get there?:
By car: Enter the street “Am Flutgraben” in Waßmannsdorf and park at the end.
Be careful. Inside the village the speed limit is 30 km/h and they have installed a speed camera.
Public transport: The easiest way is take the S-Bahn S9/S45 from Terminal 1 or where ever you start to “Waßmannsdorf” and walk from there. Look on the map for the location.

Facilities:
A Shell gas station about 800 meters from the spot. There you should be able to get drinks and small snacks. No toilets are nearby. You can ask at the gas station or drive the 1 station back to the airport terminal. Pleace keep this place clean.

When?:
Only in early morning for 07L arrivals or summer evenings just before sunset for 25R departures.
At other times this spot is backlit!

Requirements:
No ladder required. Focal length: No info – Estimated 150-300mm
Setting up a tripod could be difficult as the hill is quite steep. From my experience the ground is very soft and slippery especially after a rainfall.

BER Spot 2
Spot 2 at BER Airport

Location 3: Wall for 25R Departures 07L Arrivals

A wall next to the L75 road in Selchow provides the elevation required to see over the fence. It is located in the curb just south of the runway 07L end. From there you will be able to catch all arrivals to the Northern runway as well as heavy departures as they rotate using runway 25R. There are quite a few lamp posts but you should be able to get a shot especially when the aircraft gets higher.
Currently Lufthansa uses the apron in front to store aircraft. Sadly this blocks most of the view!

How to get there?:
By car: Parking next to the wall is not really allowed. Check out the café “45 über Null” at “Wiesenweg 1, 12529 Schönefeld”. There you should be able to park, eat, drink and meet fellow spotters.
Public transport: The easiest way is take the S-Bahn S9/S45 from Terminal 1 or where ever in Berlin you start to “S Waßmannsdorf” and walk from there (about 1 kilometer). Look on the map for the location.

Facilities:
The café “45 Über Null” about 350 meters away from the spot. There you should be able to get drinks and something to eat. They should have toilets for customers. Please keep this place clean.

When?:
For 07L arrivals in the morning until afternoon. For 25R departures from afternoon until sunset.

Requirements:
No ladder required but could prove useful to be more flexible with the angles. Focal length: No info – Estimated 100-500mm
Setting up a tripod is not possible on the wall. Next to the wall in a field you find a small hill which will offer the elevation and space required.

Qatar Airways 787 Takeoff
Egyptair 737 Takeoff BER Spot 3
Egyptair 737 Takeoff BER Spot 3_2
Spot 3 BER

Location 4: Bench for Runway 07R Arrivals/25L Departures

There is a small road going around the perimeter fence at Berlin BER Airport. Spot number 4 is located in the far South-West end of the airport. Due to natural elevation you can see over the fence without a ladder at a few spots. You can get airborne shots of 07R arrivals and potentially 25L departures. Touchdowns on the runway 07R end are also visible. Sadly the airport put down lamp posts every 50-100 meters behind the fence which can get in your way.
Due to low traffic during the pandemic the Southern runway 07R/25L is not in use! Please check before you go there.

How to get there?:
By car: There isn’t really an address for this spot… Check it out on Google Maps (a new tab will open). Please don’t park on the street or in the widening – they are there to make space for traffic in the other direction.
Public transport: Not really an option as the spot is very far from everything… About 3,5 kilometers from “S Blankenfelde” where the S-Bahn S2 and regional trains RE5/RE7 stop.

Facilities:
Nothing nearby. Bring everything you need especially sun protection and enough water in the summer.
Please take all trash with you. Thank you

When?:
Light is good from late morning until evening (in summer afternoon).

Requirements:
Focal length: No info. Estimated 50-500mm
No ladder required but highly recommended. Stay away from the fence minimum of 3-10 meters!
An alarm can be triggered.
Due to distance to the runway heat haze can be an issue here.

Lufthansa parked at Spot 4 BER
Lufthansa aircraft parked at Spot 4 BER
Spot 4 BER Airport Spotting

Location 5: Hill for Runway 25L Arrivals

On the North side of runway 25L you will find an embankment. From there you can capture arrivals coming towards you, passing right in front of you and also the touchdown. There are some lamp posts but not as bad as else where and you have a big opening to position yourself. The hill is high enough to not have the fence in the picture. However – like all spots facing South – it will be backlit all day.

How to get there?:
By car: There isn’t really an address for this spot… Check it out on Google Maps (a new tab will open). This is a gravel path and used to be in pretty bad condition. You can probably park next to the road.
Public transport: From BER Airport T1-T2 train station you can walk (30 mins/2,5 kilometers) or take bus 263, 735, 736, 743 to Hugo-Eckener-Alle and walk 16 mins from there.

Facilities:
Nothing nearby. Bring everything you need especially sun protection and enough water in the summer.
Please take all trash with you. Thank you

When?:
Backlit all day. Maybe summer evening will provide some light in your favor.

Requirements:
Focal length: No info. Estimated 50-500mm
No ladder required. Stay away from the fence minimum of 3-10 meters! An alarm can be triggered.
Due to distance to the runway heat haze will be an issue here.

AIRBUS A340 BLADE Landing
A340 Blade Touchdown Spot 5 BER
Air Baltic A220 Approaching BER Airport Spot 5

Conclusion

The closure of Berlin Tegel Airport on November 8th 2020 has been a great loss for the planespotting community. The observation deck was one of a kind in the world offering everything from great runway views to close up taxiing with good light.

As I am still exploring my new home airport Berlin Brandenburg BER I will update this spotting guide as we go. There is an observation deck at BER airport however it is behind glass, not facing the runways, backlit and costs 3€ to enter. Eventually I will try it out and add to the list.

For now, thank you very much for reading. I would appreciate if you check out the videos on my Youtube channel PlaneSpottingBerlin and leave a Like.

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