Photopoint in Milan Malpensa

Malpensa new terminal (T1 – point 3 on the map) is a glass structure and it is possible to see the whole airport from inside the terminal. The upper level (used for check in operations) is accessible to everyone and from here is possible to control all the actions on the two runways and on both T1 and T2 aprons. The two satellites (accessible only with a boarding card) allows also a superb views.

While Terminal 1 is excellent if you love just to see the plane, it isn’t the best for photography. The windows are slightly tinted and only few stands are close enough for take pictures. You can take picture of planes taxing on "K" and "W" parallel taxiways but a long tele lens is required for medium size aircraft. Beside the terminal, at departure level, there are two terraces where is possible to take some shots without glass. The light is good during afternoon only.

Around 500 meters south of the terminal (point 4 on the map) is possible to take taxi shots along "W" and "Y" parallel taxiways used to exit from T1 main apron to holding points of Runway 35L. The light is good during afternoons only and a 70-300 mm lens should be used. The fence is quite high and you need also a stair…. This point can be reached also by foot from the terminal (5 minutes walking).

Unfortunately the aircrafts mainly use the inner "W" taxiway. The outer "Y" taxiway is used by wide bodies (and a 70 mm is enough for a B.747) and by Alitalia Commuters that use Foxtrot apron (this apron will become cargo apron in the future).

North of terminal 1 (point 5 on the map) is possible to take shots of airplanes landed on runway 35L that use "E" and then "W" taxiway as entrance to T1 main apron (but many of them use the "D" taxiway to reach the apron). A 35-70 mm lens is enough.This point is also good for taking pictures of charters and cargos just before they leave the runway via "B" taxiway to T2 apron, remember that this is the only opportunity to shot charter and cargo with the wheels on the ground. When 35L is used for take-off you can take fine action shots of heavy planes just airborne. The right point is close to ALITALIA Crew center. The fence is quite high and you need also a stair…. Also this point is accessible by foot from terminal 1. The sun is good during afternoon only. In the afternoons when 35L is used for landing, this is, by the far, the best place to take pictures.Even when 35R is used for landings, this point is good because some planes leave the runway on Echo and taxi to the terminal T1 via Echo and Wiskey taxiway. When 35L is used for departures, you can get excellent action shots of heavy planes just after rotation (135 mm for B.747).Unfortunately, a new high speed exit for 35L is under construction (almost finished on April 2001, not yet certified). It is located just after the actual Delta taxiway. By this high speed link, all the planes will leave the runway and there will be no more opportunity to take pictures from this point

Action shots can be made on eastern side of the airport. To reach these points you need a car and the light is good during morning only. Turn left (direction "Novara") at the airport Terminal 1 exit and follow the road until the first roundabout, turn left again direction "Ferno" and "Lonate Pozzolo". You will have the airport fence at your left and you will cross both the landing paths. Turn left again. The road climb on the bridge over the railways. From the bridge Landing shots can be made to aircrafts landing on 35R (Point 1 on the map).

Continue along the airport fence untill the road turn right, away from the fence. Park your car (near a small children playground) and walk along the fence. Turn left after the fire station going into the wood. After 500 meters you will be parallel to the 35R runway (Point 2 on the map). There are some holes in the fence and this point is useful for touch-down shots or take off run shots. Is nice because you stay under the trees (beware of the mosquitos...)

Terminal 2 area

Terminal 2 aprons, used for charters and Cargos, usually handle the most interesting planes. Unfortunately there is only one photo point. At right side of Arrival Building, before car parkings, a road leads to terminal 1 (the road is used by shuttle bus between the two terminals). Following this road, just 300 meters after the Arrival Buildings, You will have a good view of half of the main apron. In late summer afternoons, you can try to get a picture of the planes parked on closest stand. These stands are used only by medium size (MD-80, B.737, A.320) charters, mainly from Italian operators (Azzurra Air, Volare, Eurofly and so on). The fence is high and you absolutely need 3/4 steps ladder. Try to make a visit here at the end of the spotting days, just before sun down.

Anyway you have to remenber:

There are very limited opportunities for taking pictures from Terminal 2 area

Charter and Cargo flights (usually the most interesting ones) can be photographed only while landing in the morning, or just after landing on 35L in the afternoon from point "5" on the map. They use T2 Apron and on departures go to 35L or 35R runways using the central "C" taxiway that is in the middle of the airport and so far for any photo.

Runway 35R is mainly used for landing while 35L for departures. This isn’t a strong rule and you can see landings and take off on both runways at the same time.

New departure procedures are used. From 02.30 hour to 10.30, runway 35R is used for Landing and 35L for take-off. From 10.30 to 18.30, 35L for landing and 35R for take-off. At 18.30 o’clock the last switch of the day: 35R for landing and 35R for take-off. This is repeated the following day but changing the order: from 02.30 to 10.30 landing on 35L and take off on 35R. At 10.30 35R start to be used for Landing and 35L for take-off. Final change at 18.30. This (complicated) system is used experimentally to reduce noise pollution.

There are no taxiways "usually" used and there are no a standard taxi procedure.

This means that you could never be sure to take picture of a specific plane. If you wait so long for a specific aircraft, be sure that it will use the "wrong" runway for landing, the "wrong" taxiway, the "wrong" stand and the "wrong" runway for take-off (Murphy law, Malpensa spotter version).

Copyright © Guido Allieri.

We want to thank's Guido Allieri for all information