Spotter Guide: Sarajevo International Airport

By: Nedžad

Sarajevo’s airport might be one of the most interesting in the ex-Yugoslav area, not because of the traffic it recieves, but because of it’s whereabouts. Compared to most of the other capitals in the region, Sarajevo is located in a large valley of the rivers Miljacka and Bosna, and it is surrounded by mountains on all sides. This makes the approach go all over the place, which means you can see airplanes incoming or outgoing from SJJ on multiple places. For the sake of simplicity, I will only analyse spots near the airport.

ILS Y chart for LQSA.

  1. Cafe in Terminal 1A

The old (possibly to be demolished soon) Terminal 1A, has the only cafe from which you can see the apron without having to pass security. From the cafe windows you can see the entire apron, and most of the runway is visible. The issue with this place that aircraft that are landing will escape from sight after taxiway A due trees and houses. You will see most takeoffs, because aircraft usually take off from runway 30, unless if wind conditions prohibit that; then they take off from RWY12 and land on RWY30. You can get here by taking the bus that operates on the route 200e Vijećnica-Aerodrom.

  1. Near the cemetery „Butmir“

 

This is one of the best places from where you can see aircraft taking off and landing because its relative proximity to the touchdown zone and the fact that most planes rotate around that place. The main disadvantage of this spot is that you have a pesky tree and the fact that it’s near a cemetery, but it offers some of the best shots. You can get here if you take the tram line 3 to Ilidža and then get on the bus to Hrasnica, and get off near of the intersection and walk to the cemetery. Coordinates: 43.8265024,18.325264

 

 

  1. Hifa Petrol gas station in Ilidža

This gas station is pretty much placed right over the path for final approach, and it offers quite decent shots. The procedure to getting here is simple, you take the tram line 3 to Ilidža, and when you get off at Ilidža, you just backtrace to the gas station. You can see it at 0:46 at the bottom part of the screen in this video:

Coordinates: 43.832844,18.3099177

  1. Near the start of RWY30

This spot offers the best view for the takeoff, or landing during windy conditions. There is no way to get here without a car.

 

Coordinates: 43.819349, 18.343907