On May 4, Madrid Spotter Day took place in Madrid, Spain. Like the previous eight years, the event was organized by Associación AIRE with the help of AENA, Newrest, and Iberia.
Spotters come from many parts of Spain (Canary Islands, Madrid, Basque Country, Catalunya, Galicia, etc) and Europe (Portugal, Greece, England, Belgium, Germany and Austria) to participate in the event.
The journey started at 07:00 at the control center, where spotters recive identification and pass security. After a 15 minute busride, we arrived at the first spotting location. From this location, we can see the landings in the runway 32 L, normally used by airlines from the Americas and parts of Europe. Such airlines included the likes of Delta, United, Air Europa, TAP, Iberia, and more.
After that we all took a group photo with the director of the airport, Newrest offered us a breakfast (Juice, water, cookies, and sandwiches were included).
The high point of the morning came almost at the change for the afternoon spot, when the Ilyushin IL-96 of Cubana appeared in the sky, followed by the Dreamliners of Saudia and Aeromexico, and closing with the super powerful A380 of Emirates, doing us the favor of landing on Runway 32L instead of its usual 32R.
On the way to the second spotting location, we stoped close to the Ethiopian Dreamliner and the the Wamos 747 to take some photos.
The spot of the afternoon was an old service road, so the planes passing by were either heading to their corresponding runways or rolling to the terminals after landing. You also were very close to the planes. Had we been a little closer, we might have been able to touch them!
It was really nice to see the kindness of the many pilots who greeted us from their aircraft or even open the windows of the cockpit to say hello. Some of them even waved!
We could see an unusual A319 of the Cambodian airline Lanmei Airlines being towed to the terminal area, some A319s with the old livery of Iberia, the B737MAX of Smartwings, and Egyptair’s B737 celebrating its 85th anniversary with a different paint on the tail.
The event end at 18:00, allowing for almost 12 hours of spotting.
All images by the author