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Vienna International Airport
Flughafen Wien-Schwechat
Airport type Private
Operator Flughafen Wien AG
Serves Vienna, Austria
Bratislava, Slovakia
Location Schwechat, Austria
Hub for Austrian Airlines
Elevation AMSL 183 m / 600 ft
Coordinates 48°06′37″N 016°34′11″E / 48.11028°N 16.56972°E / 48.11028; 16.56972
Location within Austria
Direction Length Surface
m ft
11/29 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
16/34 3,600 11,811 Asphalt


  Vienna International Airport (IATA: VIE, ICAO: LOWW)

The airport of the Austrian capital Vienna, is located south-east of the city and is connected by a train (called CAT – City Airport Train) as well as a motorway to the Viennese City Center. The airport is famous as an east-west junction with over 15.9 Million passengers a year. The profitable Eastern Europe routes are provided by the homecarrier Austrian.

In the year 2005 the “Flughafen Wien AG” started to build the so called SKYLINK, an additional terminal in the eastern part of the airport which offers space for 91 check-in counters as well as 51 additional gates (5 of them are A380-approved). In the year 2006 the new air traffic control tower was opened. With it’s height of 109 meters, it’s the tallest control tower in Europe. It can be seen from far away, so it got a landmark for the airport.

Terminal 1 offers space for the carriers of Star Alliance, Aeroflot and Emirates. Terminal 1A is located right opposite of Terminal 1 and is a temporarily building to bridge the capacity constraint until the new SKYLINK Terminal will be finished soon. In this Terminal there are mainly located low-cost carriers, such as NIKI, Air Berlin, Germanwings etc.

The airport offers 2 asphalt runways with orientations 11/29 (3.500 meters) and 16/34 (3.600 meters). All of them are equipped with a ILS system, 2 of them offer CAT III B. Just recently (April 2012), a decision has been made to build a third runway parallel to 11-29.

LOWW for Pilots

A quick look around

Vienna Airport is a medium range international airport, which - like many of them - has grown organically. Like all airports of this kind, they have peculiarities - most of them making life complicated for controllers.

On the ground

Aprons and parking positions

(See the LOWW charts "overview" and "parking positions", available [here].)

Where to log in with which aircraft

If you want to fly as-real-as-it-gets, then you can use the following guidelines for login:

On high traffic situations (Like the Weekly Wed) it might be good to look around before loggin in - you might sit on top of another aircraft. You can use [the gatelist] from the VACC Austria homepage or use the more remote places to log in, like the corners of the Pier (C31, C42, D21, D29) or the mostly vacant Check-in 3. There is no hassle on B, E and H stands.


This is, where the "evolutionary" design of Vienna airport hits reality - Vienna is not quite spacious to taxi around. Make sure to be slow enough and to follow ground controller instructions - you find yourself in the grass, in a building, head on to or even crashing into a fellow aircraft if you don't. Be aware: There is no follow-me car in Vienna, even if MSFS shows you one. Be so kind and follow the instructions of the ground controller or face a disconnect. On busy days (like the weekly wednesday) you can seriously screw up traffic by not following instructions.

Also, unlike other major airports (like EGLL), there are no unique and published taxiing directions - taxiways are used in either way following runway configuration. There is not even a uniform standard, how controllers handle traffic for specific runway configurations - it's where controllers do it their ways.

If you fly into Vienna with ATC control, then you get taxi instructions - follow them, full stop.

If you don't, then you can use the following rough guidelines: You have some roughly parallel taxiways with W-L into one way and M-E into the opposite direction. Easiest is to follow these taxiways right-around. ATC will guide you differently (as right-around-only is inefficient), but if you have not, it is most likely that you don't end up nose-to-nose:


... from Vienna is like any other larger airport. You have delivery, Ground and Tower and follow the procedures.

Clearance procedures


ATIS in Vienna is at 122.95. Please tune it in before asking for clearance.

Voice? Newbie?

Clearance Altitudes

Vienna has one clearance altitude for all departures: 5000ft (local QNH). Transition altitude is 5000ft too, but this is a coincidence. For you it means, that you have to change your altimeter after handoff to Approach, not before.


ATC will give you a SID.

Push and Start

Some folks ask for push and fall asleep. Some folks ask for push, push and then fall asleep. Both mess up ground movements considerably. If you are slow with your plane, then please start up on the gate and ask for push when ready.

After takeoff


You will enter the approach procedures when reaching the initial STAR waypoints. Before you reach them, listen to LOWW_ATIS at 122.95, and when transferred to Approach, you call in with callsign, position, altitude and ATIS on board:

LHA123: Wien Radar, Leipzig123, inbound VENEN, FL270 descending to FL240, ATIS B on board.
LOWW_APP: Leipzig 123, Wien radar, identified, cleared VENEN2W arrival, descend FL100.

Like every major European airport, LOWW has STAR, transitions and approaches:


ATC will most likely clear you a STAR and an altitude to descend. At the end of each STAR is a holding which you might be ordered to enter. Altitudes on the chart are minimum altitudes - ATC will tell you the altitude to fly. In the case of Vienna, STARs are also unique: From each entry point, there is only one STAR to take. As a pilot, you could as well key in the STAR into your FMC straight away.


Transitions are runway-specific - you know your transition once you know the runway, and you know the runway once you listened to ATIS. Therefore, you can key in your STAR while on cruise, and your transition while approaching or flying the STAR. Don't forget: ATC will clear you the transition or vector you.

It is vital that you have your transition on FMC, as (see below) ATC might order you to cut corners and then continue to fly the transition. It is also vital, that you look up the approach chart once you know the runway and key in the necessary frequencies for ILS approach and for go-around.


On busy days, the last phase before landing has a Director: He/she is responsible for the nitty-gritty spacing in the "string of pearls" where traffic is dense for two reasons: 1) aircraft merge from all directions, and 2) aircraft slow down. Expect ATC transfer you, if Director is online. Usually, you call Director "callsign only" - no position, no altitude, only "Wien Director, Leipzig 123".

Once established on the ILS (or on visual final), Director will transfer you to Tower.

How to handle directions on approach

Vacating and taxiing

Communication failure

... is published on the charts - please set your squawk 7600 and follow it.

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