Plane spotting difficult during G20 summit


Plane spotters at the Brisbane Airport. Photo: Tim Hillier
Plane spotters at the Brisbane Airport. Photo: Tim Hillier

People wanting to check out the international planes coming into Brisbane for the G20 summit will be unable to access prime viewing areas due to security restrictions.

YBBN Spotters Group Spokesperson Tim Hillier said people in general are disappointed they cannot view the international planes up close, however, he respects the need for security and safety measures.

Mr Hillier said the next best alternative viewing location is the Portside Wharf at Hamilton.

“You can see them flying in over the river, if they’re coming in that direction,” Mr Hillier said.

“[We] wont be able to get a decent shot but they will be able to get some sort of photo depending on how low the aircraft is and how quickly it’s moving, but that will be the safest point anyway for people to watch them come in and land.”

The Brisbane Airport has since announced that restricted access has been granted for registered plane spotters and Brisbane local media at the Acacia Street Loop as long as protocols are followed.

Mr Hillier said the plane spotting community is grateful to the Brisbane Airport Corporation for granting access during the summit

Brisbane Airport Media and Corporate Communications Manager Leonie Vandeven said all other viewing areas will be closed during the G20 with the exception of those who have pre-registered.

“During the G20, Brisbane Airport will be like ‘Fort Knox on steroids’.”

Ms Vandeven added that, in addition to the obvious presence of additional police and security, there will be several layers less noticeable security.

According to the Brisbane Airport announcement, the viewing area may need to be closed during G20 for operational and security reasons.

Ms Vandeven said the Acacia Street loop will be closed to the general public from noon Wednesday November 12, reopening the morning of Tuesday November 18.

YBBN Spotters Group Spokesperson Tim Hillier said people are excited to see Air Force One (AF1) and he is anticipating the different aircraft models that they do not normally see.

“So we had the Brazilian Air Force in the other day and Saudi Arabian Airlines had a flight this morning. Russia brought some aircraft in as well,” he said.

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Aviation enthusiast Christopher Sockhill believes the large gathering of world leaders will provide the perfect opportunity to see many heavily modified aircraft in one place.

“It is disappointing, seeing the likes of AF1 or the Russian Ilyushin Jet especially on landing and take-off would be amazing. [It] is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Mr Sockhill said

Many of the delegates’ planes will arrive in Brisbane via the old International Terminal which has remained unused for almost 20 years.

The terminal, which has undergone a $3 million refurbishment, will be G20 delegates’ first impression of Brisbane, with leaders welcomed then whisked away in awaiting motorcades.

Brisbane Airport Media and Corporate Communications Manager Leonie Vandeven said the refurbishment was managed by the G20 Taskforce.

“I understand it will be simple but nicely furnished and provide very efficient processing,” she said.

The Brisbane Airport Corporation is expecting a total of 26 planes throughout the summit, with most planes arriving Friday November 14 and departing on the evening of Sunday November 16.

Despite the refurbishment the old International Airport is expected to be demolished following the G20.

Krystal Gordon

I am very keen to gain employment across all fields of journalism and I am particularly interested in health, women's rights, local news and events. This blog features all of my journalistic work and serves as an online portfolio.


  1. If any spotters are interested, i’m running my Flight Tracker over the G20 period and beyond. Any aircraft transmitting with ADS-B around Brisbane/Gold Coast airspace should be visible on the tracker. The site is at – Comments always welcome.

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