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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
LOWW is located in Austria
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

About this section

This section is intended to be an introduction to first-time flyers in and out of Vienna, as well as a guide for inexperienced pilots. This series actually started with LOWI for Pilots which found quite many followers, so other Austrian airports follow.

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].)

  • General Aviation West is at the far west behind the exits Q1 and P1. This area is for really small aircraft.
  • Technical base (if you blew up a tyre on landing) is next, opposite Exit 14 and 15. Many GAC pilots start from there (for whichever reason).
  • General Aviation East is not really in the East, but rather "east of the GAC West": It is on L between technical base and the main terminal. Most GAC pilots start from here. In real life, this area is for the business class aircraft.
  • Apron B is next to the East come two rows of stands for smaller aircraft. Regional planes like Dash, Bitch (sorry, Beech) 1900 or RJ87 go there often, and it is also the company apron of Austrian regional connector flights. Beware of the one-way street: B71-B75 enter and leave (pushback) via taxilane 31. B81-B85 enter via taxilane 32 and leave (no pushback) via taxilane 31. B91-B96 enter via taxilane 33 and leave (no pushback) via taxilane 32.
  • Pier West covers the C gates. It is the "Schengen" pier with no passport control. Log in for your departure, if you fly within the Schengen area. The two gates at the corner (C36 and C39) are suitable for Heavies. Expect some broken glass in the terminal, if you log into C31 with an Airbus A330 :-). Most Non-Star-Alliance-aircraft depart from here.
  • Pier East covers the D gates. This is the "Non-Schengen" pier, mostly for Non-Star-Alliance-aircraft. Again, the corner goates (D23, D27) are Heavy gates.
  • Further East along taxiway L are the E stands. In this area the low cost carriers park, as gates are more expensive than stands. Aircraft park nose-south: They enter via taxilane 36 and leave onto L.
  • East of the main terminal is the new Skylink, now named [Check-in 3] Access for aircraft is divided: For the south (F01-F37, odd), aircraft use taxilane 35/26, for the north (F04-F36, even), it's taxilane 40. Check-in 3 is Schengen-and-non-Schengen and is the home pier for the Star Alliance fleet.
  • Taxilanes 35/36/37 are one-way streets, but the direction changes according to runway configuration. Expect ground controller to issue a "pushback facing east/west" clearance. If you don't get any facing instruction, face east, as you are most likely to get out this way.
  • Taxilane 38 is exit-only: Aircraft parking on F41-F59, as well as F41-F50 use it to leave.
  • The H apron is north of taxilane 40. H41-H48 are pushback stands, H49-H50 leave via taxilane 42.
  • The K apron is for cargo and at the very northeast, accessible via E and taxilane 43.

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:

  • Star Alliance birds of the size of an A320 or more usually park at the skylink.
  • Non-Star Alliance aircraft park on the pier West (Schengen) and East (Non-Schengen)
  • Low Cost Carrier usually start from the E apron and F41-F59, as well as the H apron.
  • Cargo leaves from K
  • Larger GAC aircraft (like a Challenger) leave from B or GAC East
  • Small GAC aircraft (like sports aircraft) leave from GAC West.
  • Super-large birds have F44, F48, H49 and H50. Sorry, no gates for the A380 in Vienna.

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 if you try.

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:

  • Departure rwy 11: Taxi down to L (coming from the north: via W), changing to M on exit 12, if you are more than a light aircraft (wingspan - you might smash some Cessnas standing around on GAC East) for departure from A11 or A12. Taxilane 36 is eastwards for W.
  • Departure rwy 16: Taxi down to M and via Ex1 and Ex24 up E to Ex31. Taxilane 36 is eastwards to W where (strictly followed) you should drive right-around (W, Ex2, Ex1, Ex24, E) or you might look out and cut the corner to the left and Ex23 to E.
  • Departure rwy 29: Taxi down to M (from north: via W)
  • Departure rwy 34: Taxi down to M and E - from north: only via E.
  • Arrival rwy 11: Leave on M, take next exit to L to the terminal, or take A2, Ex1 Ex24 and E for the northern stands. Right-around would also mean that taxilane 36 is eastwards via Ex7 and taxilane 35.
  • Arrival rwy 16: Vacate to E and taxi up to the northern aprons, or turn left for L for the terminal and for taxilanes 35+36.
  • Arrival rwy 29: Leave to M and taxi to the terminal, or take Ex1, Ex24 and E for the northern apron.
  • Arrival rwy 34: Take W and taxilane 40 for the northern aprons or L for and taxilane 35-36 for GAC, terminals and southern stands.