|Runway(s)||14L/32R, 14R/32L, 14/32H (grass)|
Toulouse-Blagnac is one of the major airports in the European aviation scene as it houses the main factory of Airbus Industries where the A300, A320, A330 and A380 are being put together. Also the ATR42 and ATR72 are built here. This guarantees that a visit to Blagnac is always good for a lot of brand new airframes. In the near future the production line of the A320 will move to Hamburg, as Airbus needs the space at Toulouse for the production of the European Super Jumbo, the A380.
The airport has several nooks and crannies filled with ramps. Obviously, Airbus dominates the scene. Their major facility occupies the whole west side of the airfield. In a new extension on the north-east side, more ramps, parking spots and a huge hangar can be found. The east side has the terminal, about halfway the runways. Just south of that is the old terminal. Further south is the general aviation area.
The airport is located in the western outskirts of Toulouse. The main roads on the west and south side are highways A621 and A624, forming an airport ring road. Useful for spotting activities is road D2B that runs inside A621 and can be reached with some effort from both highways, as well as directly from the city. A bus service runs from the city to the main terminal. However, to see most of the Airbus planes a car is recommended which ia actually not that expensive to rent in the terminal.
From inside the terminal you have a good view of the apron in front of the terminal, the cargo ramp to the east and the Airbus factory opposite the runway. There used to be a viewing area on the second floor, but that was recently closed. The restaurant there should still provide good views. Also from some windows just before you enter the restaurant, you'll have the opportunity to read off some registrations from aircraft parked on the other side. Photography is possible in the morning, but restricted to the taxiway in front of the terminal. From the east side of the terminal, you can walk towards the second spot.
2Cargo & Charter Terminal
This spot is at the old terminal, which is now in use as a charter and bizjet terminal. At both sides you can overlook the apron in front of the terminal and the cargo apron to the right of it.
If you continue along the road at the back of the hangars, you can see the aircraft parked there. At the very end of this road is a crash gate with good views over the landing of runway 32R and also the Airbus factory.
If you park your car somewhere at the industrial estate in the southwest corner, just west of where the D2B crosses the A621, you walk either way. Westbound along Chemin de Laporte for runway 32L, or eastbound along the D2B for runway 32R. From here, you can take good landing shots as you can stand on either side of the approach. You also have another view of the General Aviation and Cargo ramps from here.
Close to spot 4 is the excellent museum of Ailes Anciennes, which used to be on Airbus grounds. You can visit this museum on Wednesday afternoon or on Saturday only. For more info about the museum: phone (33) 05 61 21 70 01 or fax : (33) 05 61 86 86 26, or visit their website (click on the link at the more info section of this page).
Of course, the main goal of a visit to Toulouse is the Airbus factory. Along the perimeter, there are numerous spots to read off the parked aircraft, we have included some of these spots in this guide, but photography is not possible (and, in fact, not allowed). At some places you can enter the parking lots to get a better view, but do not stay there too long as you will sent away by the security.
At weekdays and Saturday guided tours are held. Unfortunately the days when you visited the A330 production lines, including the flight lines, are over now. The current tour takes you (only) to the A380 final assembly hall, where from an elevated position you can view the (maximal) three A380s inside. As with most factory visits, photography is not allowed. As these tours are in demand, you have to make an appointment for a selected tour, prior to your visit.
For details and reservations, visit the website of Taxiway (see the links section on the right).
6Southwest side parking lot
Go right onto the parking lot, just before the main south gate. Use exit 3 from the A624, onto D82E, Route du Bayonne. Make a right directly after the exit, just before on the large roundabout. You can also take the first exit of the roundabout, this also leads to the same gate, but the first route leads along the perimeter.
7Gate to museum
From the museum gate, closed on most days, a glimpse of some of the preserved aircraft can be caught. The ramp behind it can also be seen partly, albeit tail on. To get here, go west from the roundabout at the gate mentioned at spot 5. This is Avenue Yves Brunaud. Take the second to the right, the first is a dead end, into Avenue Clément Ader. This leads to the Breguet gate.
8West side gate and parking lot
From the museum gate, take the first right, Avenue Didier Durat and go right at the roundabout. You are now on the Avenua Jean Monet which basically runs along the west side of the airport. Go straight at the next two roundabouts, past the Concorde, past the gate. After the gate go right onto the parking lot entrance. You can only enter the first bit and walls hamper the view on the ramps. But some bits can be seen.
An excellent spot is at the landing of runway 15R. At the industrial estate a dead end streets gives you a perfect place to take landing shots. As runway 15R is mostly used, both by the normal traffic and the Airbus test flights, this is the preferred spot, especially in the afternoon. From spot 6, simply follow the Avenue Jean Monet. Due to building activities it veers off to the left and right again, meeting up with the perimeter and becoming Avenue Latecoeure in the process. This itself goes northbound to the D63. Just before it meets the D63 and D63E at a roundabout, you can make a right into the Zone des Activités Louis Bréguet.
At the opposite side, you can stand near a crash gate next to the taxiway to runway 15L. Good for pictures in the morning. Do not block it because its is also one of the taxiways to the northeast side! From spot 8 go right at the roundabout onto the D63E. Go right again on the next one, you are on the D1, Route du Toulouse, on the northeast side now. Shortly after, you will reach the crash gate. There is some space to park your car in a nearby dirt track, just northwest.
11Northeast area - east side
Continue towards Toulouse on the D1. Under pass the two taxiways and make a left on the roundabout and immediately right onto the Rue Franz-Joseph Strauss. The entrance to this road can also be reached by taking exit 902.2 from the D902 coming from the south, or D902.3 when coming form the north. In the latter case, you will be halfway down the complex.
This road leads past several gates and parking lots on the west side, all inaccessible. Every now and then some views are probably possible of the ramps and hangar, in spite of the walls. If you know the best vantage point, please drop us a line!
12Northeast area - west side
To reach the other side of the complex, continue north towards the N224 on Rue André Béteille. At the roundabout, enter the N224 westbound only to exit it at the very next roundabout. Use the third exit, the fourth leads to a gate. The third exit brings you to yet another roundabout, take the first exit, the second is the entrance to the parking lot. Continue south on the Chemin d'Uliet. Just after the parking lot it forks off to the right, but you have to go straight into a small road, Vieux chemin de Blagnac. Behind some houses here, there is a gap in the wall. Same remark as with spot 10: confirmation of its usefulness required.
An alternative route to this spot is possible from spot 8 and 9. From the roundabout that connects the D63E to the D1, take the northern exit, that is between east- and westbound D1. This is the Chemin de Terrefort. Go right at the T-junction, the Rue du Cassé. Follow this, after a sharp left bend, there is another left bend, the road on your right in this bend is the aforementioned street to spot 11.
13East side taxiway - near P5 and P6
Obviously mainly useful a.m., but good for just numbers anyhow. It is near parking lots 5 and 6, in the northern part of the terminal area. To avoid navigating through the airport area, simply use exit 902.2 and use the third exit of the roundabout on the west side of the D902. This is Rue Roland-Garros. Follow this towards the airfield and make a right at the T-junction onto Rue de Bordebasse. This is a dead end, but the crash gate provides excellent close up views of the 14L threshold and holding point and the taxiway to 14R.
|121.100 / 125.175||Approach|
|SAG Toulouse||AS350B(A) -|
|F-BTOE||SE210, at the Airbus factory in Aérospatiale colours|
|F-WTSB||Concorde, at the Airbus factory|
|Various||The large collection of Ailes Anciennes Toulouse is located on the Airbus side and only accessible on Saturday morning|
|Toulouse Airport||The official site of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport|
|Ailes Anciennes||The site of the museum|
|Taxiway||For visiting the A380 production facility.|
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