Spotters’ Day at Brussels Airport: aircraft enthusiasts are allowed on the tarmac for once

Sarhan Basem

Tuesday was Spotters’ Day at Brussels Airport: twenty aircraft fans were able to take photos from the tarmac and experience cargo operations from close by. They were also given a tour of the airport fire station.

Four hundred candidates were there to participate. Brussels Airport made a selection of twenty people via a tiebreaker question. One of the lucky ones is Rico Valkenborgh. “I almost shot a hole in the air when I received the email that I was there. That you can see those huge birds up into the air from so close, that’s just amazing.”

It is the sixth time that Brussels Airport is organizing a Spotters’ Day. The last one was in 2019. It hasn’t worked since then due to covid. The airport promises to organize more spotter days in the future.

Every day, dozens of aircraft enthusiasts come to the airport to take pictures of the planes they know at Brussels Airport. Since 2018 there are two spotting platforms that offer a view of the runways, but on Tuesday it was possible to spot from the tarmac for once.

Tintin and Smurf plane
Many airlines responded to Brussels Airport’s request to deploy their stickered aircraft especially for this Spotters’ Day: the Tintin plane ‘Rackam’, the Tomorrowland plane ‘Amare’, the Smurf plane ‘Aerosmurf’ and the Brussels Airlines Bruegel plane were shown to the spotters . Other companies such as Vueling (with a Disneyland plane), DHL and Ethiopian Airlines also had their ‘special livery’ models take off or land in front of the lenses of the amateur photographers.

According to spokeswoman Ihsane Chioua Lekhli, the group of plane spotters is important for Brussels Airport: “They are aviation ambassadors. They take very nice photos, post them on social media and in this way they support the airport and the airlines. To promote them and their work in the we wanted to offer them this opportunity.”

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.