Ras al Khaimah is the northernmost of the seven emirates. Its main airport lies south of the city, some 20km by road, and has a single 3800m runway. Although capacity is here for 2500 passengers a day in a 24 hour-operation scheduled movements are limited to an average two or three a day, including visa renewal flights to/from Iran by a Tajik Tu-134. The main source of income seem to be the various stored aircraft, mostly Soviet types plus a few 747s and Tristars. These make a visit certainly worthwhile for those interested. In the past photo permits were sold but this has not been heard of lately. Be aware, plane spotting is neither understood nor appreciated in Arab countries!
Luckily there is no wall around the field but a fence, making it possible to log some registrations from the outside. The terrain is very open which is good for reading but bad for acting under cover. It should be possible to access the perimeter from various sides by local roads but this is probably quite risky.
Apart from arriving as a passenger the obvious way to this airport is by (rental) car. Driving time is short north to Ras al Khaymah city and somewhat over an hour southeast to Fujairah.
Around the Airport
Outside the terminal building little can be seen but the restaurant has a pretty view over most of the apron, some green vegetation and the red desert behind. Photography is not allowed although you might just meet a co-operating security person - don't hold your breath. Locals do take snapshots with compact cameras. Small binoculars are sufficient to get most of the numbers.
South of the terminal area one can leave the road by car and park among some shrubberies. From there remaining registrations may be read and movements should be well in sight, provided there are any.
From the petrol station annex roadside cafe and the nearby roundabout planes on the northern part of the apron may be spotted, depending on how they are parked. A closer view on these mostly stored planes exists from the road between the roundabout and the terminal but this is also more in view of airport security.
Yak-42 ER-YCE spent most of its life in storage here, but started operating for just a few months by the end of 2005. (Spot 1, Mick Bajcar)
|118.250||Tower / Approach|
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