Sarajevo airport opened only in 1969, but has seen much tragedy in its young life. The airport was operated by the UN but under heavy siege during the 1992-1995 war. It was only used to deliver humanitarian aid. In 1996, the civil airport opened again. To the south of the airport, Camp Butmir can be found, which serves as the headquarters of the military mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina and currently houses EUFOR helicopters.
Sarajevo has a single 12/30 runway, the terminal is located to the north of the runway. The south side offers great views for aviation enthusiasts. Camp Butmir is found just south of the airport. Its helicopter aprons are best seen from the south side.
The airport can be found about 6kms south of the town centre in the suburb of Butmir. It can be reached by taking road no.E73 to Kiseljak from the town centre.
As usual, we will start our tour at the civil terminal, which has seen extensive upgrades in recent years. Between the buildings, there's a few peeks to get of the apron, although views are not great, and you may miss some aircraft. But no worries, just head to spot 2.
2Main apron - north side
If any aircraft escaped identification from spot 1, this will be made up for from spot 2. From the terminal area, turn left and take the first main road left again and immediately left again. This road heads south towards the fence and from here views of the apron's north side can be had, although a bit obstructed. As the spot is on the north side it is not suitable for photography.
3Approach 12 - south side
To view aircraft on finals for runway 12, the parking lot of Ilidza tram station comes handy. Coming from the terminal area, head around the 12 threshold and take a left at the roundabout. After 200mts, the parking lot is on your left hand. This spot is great for photography in the afternoon.
4Runway 12/30 north west side
A great spot is spot 4. To reach it, head south from Ilidza railway station (spot 3) and take a left in the curve of the road. Turn left again, and right again, this road leads to the fence. From here, views on the runway are great, whether runway 12 or runway 30 is used. Photography is great in the afternoon.
5Runway 12/30 west side
If for some reason you get tired from spot 4, simply try spot 5. Follow the road parallel of the runway until you are right opposite the terminal area. Take a left here and head towards the fence again for a different, but great view. Photography is best in the afternoon from here as well.
6Threshold 30 - west side
Driving south along the runway from spot 5, you will first pass the entrance of the tunnels that were dug under the runway during the war. If you have time, check the museum, which is really interesting. The next left turn is of no use, but about 350mts further, another left turn exists. Head towards the fence for great views of the 30 threshold, with best photography in the afternoon again.
7Approach 30 - south side
Aircraft on approach for runway 30 can best be viewed around the Kula detention centre, which can be found at spot 7 on the map. The centre itself can not be visited, but a few minor roads around it offer great views. The best photographic conditions are in place after 11.00AM.
8Camp Butmir aprons - north west side
Camp Butmir can be found just south of the airport. Spotting is fairly easy here as well. Coming from spot 6 head straight back across the road you came from. Follow the sharp right curve, heading north west again. At the next main intersection take a sharp left to get to the other side of the camp. Just follow the road south, around the shooting range. Take a left on the dirt road which leads to a small build-up area and turn left twice until you can not get any closer to the camp from this side. From here the northern aprons are within scope-reach. Photography is possible in the afternoon as well, you just have to be lucky to catch a flying helicopter as the aprons are beyond reach.
9Camp Butmir aprons - south west side
The last spot to check for the ultimate result at Sarajevo is spot 9. Head south through the myriad of dirt roads to the west of Camp Butmir. Just before you reach a small build-up area to the south of the camp, you can have good views of the southern aprons. If you are lucky, you may be able to graph a helicopter, but only when they are flying.
|Ground Controlled Approach
|Official website of Sarajevo Airport
|Banja Luka - Mahovljani
|Banja Luka - Zalužani
|Sarajevo - Butmir
|Sarajevo - Rajlovac