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London Stansted Airport

  Pre-Covid Spotting 
This page is designed to give a quick guide on some of the locations for photographing aircraft at different airports in Europe.

As many aviation enthusiasts know, since the terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001, very many official viewing locations were closed down and some people look upon aircraft enthusiasts with suspicion. Photographing aircraft is not illegal, but there are places where it is allowed and those where it is forbidden, for example, many airports do not allow photography inside the airport. Always observe signs and notices, I recommend carrying some form of ID. Some airport police forces now engage with local spotters for example, Stansted Airport Planewatch

Note that in large part, the locations listed are not official viewing areas and you are reminded to abide by all laws and common sense when it comes to visiting these places. I would always suggest keeping well back from fences, do not trespass on private land, and politely follow any requests or demands by those in authority.

These pages are provided as guidance only and cannot be used as for anything more than general information purposes. You are fully responsible for your own actions and for abiding by any instructions given by any airport official. No part of the "tips and locations" section is approved or endorsed by any airport or authority

  Stansted Airport

London's third largest airport is Stansted. There is currently no official viewing area, although the preferred location for viewing is along Belmer Road. Due to high perimeter fences and few raised areas, video and photography are a challenge. Stansted does have a dedicated education centre called Aerozone, however this is not accessible to the public.

Stansted has one runway, north facing 04 and south facing 22. (Oct 09 these were changed from 05/23 due to change in Earth's magnetic poles) Aircraft usually takeoff and land on runway 22 as the approach is over fields.

Stansted is home to Ryanair and Jet2 have had an ever growing presence since 2019 and have become the airport's second largest operator, overtaking easyJet which closed it's base at Stansted in 2020. 

Stansted Airport Plane Watch Scheme

is operated by Essex Police details of how to apply can be found at


or by writing to
Airport Plane Watch Scheme
Enterprise House
Bassingborn Road
Stansted Airport Essex Police
CM24 1PS

Currently Operating (Guide only and subect to frequent change) Stopped operating
  • Ryanair
  • Jet2
  • Jet2 Holidays
  • Emirates (Daily 777)
  • Air India (Boeing 787)
  • EasyJet (no based aircraft)
  • Aurigny
  • Air Moldova
  • Atlas Global
  • British Airways Cityflyer (weekends)
  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines
  • AnadoluJet (Turkish)
  • Loganair
  • Pegasus Airlines
  • Thomas Cook
  • TUI
  • Titan Airways
  • Ural Airlines (Russia)
  • FlyPOP (India proposed startup)
  • JetBlue (expected 2021)


  • Atlas Air
  • China Southern
  • FedEX
  • Panalpina
  • Qatar Cargo
  • Martinair Cargo/KLM
  • Swiftair
  • UPS
  • West Atlantic
  • Aegean (xfer  LHR)
  • American (May 08 xfer to LHR)
  • Air Malta (xfer LGW)
  • Air Italy (route closed)
  • Blue1 (xfer LHR)
  • Blue Air (xfer LTN)
  • CSA (route closed all UK routes since curtailed)
  • Centralwings (ceased trading)
  • EL-AL (Xfer LTN)
  • EOS (Apr 08 Airline failed)
  • FlyGlobeSpan (Network retrenched to Scotland ceased ops Dec 09)
  • MaxJet (Dec 07 Airline failed)
  • Norwegian (xfer LGW)
  • Eastern Airways (route closed)
  • Star1 (ceased ops)
  • Sky Europe (xfer LTN ceased ops)
  • Wizz Air (xfer LTN)
  • Transavia (xfer LTN)
  • Air Berlin
  • Air Berlin
  • Iceland Expres
  • Turkish
  • Global Supply
  • Cobalt Air (ceased ops)
  • Primera (ceased ops)
  • Eurowings (xfer LHR)
  • Germanwings (merged to Eurowings)
  • Flybe (ceased ops)
  • Atlas Global (Turkey) Ceased ops
  • Wideroe (xfer to SEN)
  • Western Global (MD-11 Cargo operator)
  • TNT
  Viewing Areas

Terminal Building

The first thing to note is that there is nowhere from within the terminal building to view aircraft unless you are airside. There used to be an OK area adjacent to the terminal building but I would not recommend now, as so many new security features are in place.

Belmer Road

To get to the main viewing areas you will need a car, or be willing to walk a fair distance. Stansted Airport is surrounded by public footpaths and rights of way, however aside from a few places, parking isn't particularly easy.

The main viewing are is the road past the village of BURTON END, which provides views alongside the runway.

Runway End

Alternatively at the end of Runway 22, known as the "Jam Factory" which gives views of aircraft directly overhead. Viewing at the end of Runway 04 is less easy as there is nowhere to park. Parking anywhere causing an obstruction will result in police/security moving you on.


Stansted has an array of nearby hotels including Holiday Inn Express, Premier Inn located near Mid-stay parking. Neither of these would offer views of the airport or runways.

The best viewing locations are to be had at the Hampton by Hilton and Radisson Blu, both located within walking distance of the terminal. Airport facing views in both hotels overlook the apron. Radisson blu offers views of the Ryanair stands, whilst Hampton provides views across the piers used by many other operators. Both have large windows and are 4* facilities.

The Novotel at Stansted (previously Hilton) is located by the Long Stay car park. It does not offer views of the airport although some views may be had of aircraft landing on Runway 04. Many other smaller B&B's and other hotels such as Days Inn are nearby but the viewing opportunities would be very limited.


Refreshments and Facilities
There are no refreshments or toilet facilities at any of the locations. Also because the locations are fairly windy, I suggest taking suncream even in lowish temperatures to avoid burning. There is a McDonalds and drive thru Starbucks located near the Medium Stay car park, however you would need a car to get to these.



  Getting there

The easiest way is to use the M11 motorway, either from the North from Cambridge or from London to the south. Using the main slip road follow the signs to the airport, once off the motorway head in the direction of the Long Term Parking (This is very close to the airport Hilton Hotel).

At the mini roundabout adjacent to the long term car park carry straight on you will be travelling on the Round Coppice Road. This is a long winding road that takes you around the perimeter of the airport as you go around a relatively sharp bend you will see an entrance on your left hand side, this is the airport's business aviation area. Carrying on the main road the name changes to Bury Lodge Lane simply follow this lane all the way round until you reach Burton End village. Please slow down through the village! Carry on past The Ash Pub, and you will reach a VERY VERY sharp bend, please do take care here. Continue a little further until you reach a straight road called Belmer Road. You will see cars parked along the road, this area is a nature reserve and public right of way.

Park up along the road and there are a number of small cut ins through the small wooded areas and you will be at the side of the runway. Police and security frequently drive past these areas and therefore do not be surprised if you are asked your intentions, on occasion they may do a vehicle/name check just to make sure you are who you say you are. Police here are very tolerant and know that genuine enthusiasts are extra eyes and ears.

For maps and additional information I would suggest this excellent resource Plane-Mad.com


You will need a ladder to be high enough to see over the fence. You must stay well back from the fences. Alternatively you can walk along the length of the runway and may find suitable vantage points.
Variety at London Stansted Video 4K
Example Videos from London Stansted
  VIP Arrivals in 4K
  Storm Katie 4K
  Unusual Visitors 4K
VIP arrivals at London Stansted Airport for the NATO 70 conference, features Turkish Government A330 & 747-8, Gov't of Netherlands 737BBJ, Gov't of Bulgaria Airbus and more!! It's been a stormy start to 2016 with no less than 3 big storm events filmed. Storm Katie brought the strongest winds gusting up to 50kts. This video captures a VERY HARD touchdown of an unusual visitor of Emirates Boeing 777 plus 2 go-arounds and turbulent approaches.  Rare sights and sounds galore in this video from Stansted. With a NEOS Boeing 787-9, a Danish Air Transport very rare McDonnell Dougals MD83 and Emirates B777 in the Expo livery just a few of the aircraft featured.
Thirty Thousand Feet - Aviation Directory


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