With a flourishing tourist industry, Aruba has a busy airport. Many daily flights arrive from the US and Europe, making this airport a perfect place to spend some time during your holiday. Smaller regional airlines and aircraft of the US government can be found here as well. A perfect destination for a family-spotting trip!
The north side of the airport handles all passenger and cargo aircraft. A large and modern terminal is situated here as well as the cargo platform, where US government aircraft are parked if present.
The south side of the airport is the home of the general aviation community. Bizjets and light aviation dominate the ramps here. A number of aircrafte are stored here as well.
Although just 15kms off the Venezuelan coast, there's currently no passenger ferry to the South American mainland or any other island. Therefore, the airport is most likely your point of entry to Aruba. Coming from the centre of it's capital Oranjestad, head south along the shoreline. At the roundabout keep right and the airfield appears on your right.
Around the Airport
1Approach runway 11
Because of the everblowing north eastern tradewind this approach is mostly in use. Enjoy your real Caribbean spotting experience here! The beach next to the New Havana Beach Club is the place to be in the morning. Nice landing shots can be made with no more than 300mm.
The roundabout just south of Oranjestad gives access to a crashgate. The gate itself is suitable for photography of aircraft turning from the taxiway to the runway. From 11.00 AM till 03.00 PM this spot will give you nice opportunities with 300mm.
Along the fence on the LG Smith Boulevard, from the crashgate to the fire brigade, good views of the taxiways and runways can be obtained. A few picknick spots allow you to enjoy some shade. For the taxiway 50mm will do, the runway requires 300mm. After noon you will have backlight though.
Unfortunately, the terminal offers limited views and only after you passed customs. From your departure gate you can have a look on the platform, though the aircraft are probably too close... Regional carriers are often parked further away from the terminal and can often be photographed.
5Approach runway 29
Although seldom used, the 29 approach might be good spot to spend a couple of hours in September and/or October. Leave the terminal to the main route road no.1 to the south east, direction San Nicolas. After about 1 km, turn right at the first sign to General Aviation. Follow this road straight up to the fence, where you make a left turn and have arrived at spot 5. Aircraft on finals for runway 29 can be nicely viewed from here.
A bit hard to explain, but definitely worth the effort is spot 6. From spot 5 head on towards the sea through the residential area. Turn right at the intersection, followed by the first left. At the T-junction, take a right turn, and then the second right, all of which is signposted as direction General Aviation. This spot provides excellent views of the general aviation platform, the runway, the taxiway and the terminal. Zooming between 50mm and 400mm, you will appreciate this spot after noon.
Leaving spot 6, head back to the road you just left, turn right and follow the road all the way to the sea. Turn right again near the Bucuti Yacht Club and you will reach a parking lot. Views of the general aviation platform, the runway and the taxiway can be obtained here as well. Also this is the spot where the general aviation leaves the runway to taxi to the general aviation terminal.As with spot 6, 50-400mm will do the job from noon to sunset.
Save the best for last, but definitely something to consider when booking your holiday. Only if you stay in the Renaissance hotel, you will have access to Renaissance Island (formerly known as Sonesta island). All arriving air traffic can be viewed from noon to sunset and photographed with 300mm from the beach, while sipping your exotic cocktail...
Andries Waardenburg provided the front cover of Scramble's edition 309 with this excellent shot taken at spot 7.
Also from spot 7, with Aruba's highest peak, the Hooiberg as a nice background. Andries Waardenburg.
|N101AW||This Jetstar is dumped near spot 7.|
|(PP-SQO)||This Dakota is preserved across the LG Smith Boulevard from the terminal.|
|P4-TIC||This ex-Regional Air Shorts 360 is stored near spot 6.|
|N227PA||PA-28RT, stored near spot 6|
Order of Battle Dutch Caribbean
|Dutch Caribbean - Coast Guard|