Beijing Int' l Airport

The new apron (Apron 6) is now drawn in the map of BEJ airport; this will probably mean access to the fence where aircraft line up for runway 36L will be impossible at some future dat.
But look at the info below, an email by Phil Hawks, dated March 2003. .

The main (and most surprising) news from Beijing is that the famous spotting spot at the end of runway 36L is still, amazingly, 'open for business'. The only real change from last year seems to be the completion of the large new apron outside the Air China cargo sheds here, but there's absolutely no access to the airport itself (at least for aircraft) and, as yet, not even any indication of where a taxiway might go. Very odd.
The construction of this apron has meant that you need to make a slight detour around it to reach the photo spot, but there's no problem whatsoever in finding the way.
The fence that had been put up by last year (and which seemed to be death knell for the spot) is still there, the gates are still wide open, and the waste ground beyond is still waste ground. Obviously completion of this facility is not a high priority! How long this situation will continue is anybody's guess, but there's probably still time to book a trip out here if you haven't yet made it !
There are plenty of other places to view from around the airport, probably the easiest to reach (and best spot if/when the 36L spot does disappear) being the area near the fire station on the east side of the 36L runway (although whether this is in fact an 'active' fire station I'm not so sure). From here you can see all movements on this runway, and the fence is a similar type to the one at the end of 36L, allowing you to stick a camera through for some great take-off shots. It's big drawback is that it's only good for photography in the morning - if you want action shots in the afternoon you'll have to go all the way round to the other side of the runway, which is a helluva walk!
Although there's a small barracks here I've never had any problems with security. I only saw any guards appear once, when a couple came out and one of them walked up to where I was and, very politely (almost apologetically), told me that I'd have to move away from the fence (I think he said that officially there was a 50m 'exclusion zone', but he had such a thick Beijing accent that I'm not completely sure!). A short while later a China Postal Y-8 landed (they always use this runway), taxied to its stand at the old terminal, whereupon the two guards disappeared and everything was back to 'normal'.
Phil Hawks
Thanks, Phil !

My trip to Beijing & Hong Kong july 2002


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