ILA Berlin (Berlin Air Show)

Type:Commercial trade event and airshow
Schedule:Bi-yearly (even years), mid-June
Location:Berlin Schönefeld Airport[map]
Official website:www.ila-berlin.de[external]
Overall impression:+++
Photo opportunities:+++
Price level:+++
Editions attended:2006[external] 2008[external]


ILA is a big commercial trade event combined with an airshow. While not being specifically oriented towards the airshow enthusiasts, thanks to good orientation of the airfield it provides some reasonable photo opportunities. If you are into the airliners / civil aviation and don't like the limited photo availability of the Paris Air Show, this might be a place for you.

Note: for last few years, the ILA showground is a huge construction site. All the below notes are based on my impressions from 2006 and 2008. Not much should change for 2010 event - but in 2012, you might find it all organized a completely new way.

Getting there

Public transport

ILA is organized at the public airport, so it's obviously rather easy to reach with the public transport :-)

By air: Main airline flying to Schönefeld is Germanwings. There are also lots of flights from Easyjet/Ryanair and a couple from different airliners. Visit the official airport page[external] for more information. Once you exit the airport, just follow the covered walkway[map] that will lead you to the train station.

By train: Schönefeld station[map] is very well connected to Berlin, with S-Bahn running every 20min in peak hours. During ILA there are often extra trains organized (check the event page for up-to-date information. However, there are not many long-distance train reaching the place - the best you can get are the RegioExpress trains to the neighbouring cities. Airport site provides a convenient travel planner. You can of course use the excellent train schedule of Deutsche Bahn too.

Once you are at the train station, it will be quite obvious which train to take. It will drive you to the temporary station[map] right at the entrance to the ILA showground.


It is highly recommended to approach the Schönefeld area from the south (logical anyway, you won't be coming through the city anyway). The main parking is organized around the eastern part of the old runway. Nowadays, there is a highway (in construction) that cuts it in half. You won't even find it in the Google Maps yet :-) (as of 1.2010).

Best is to get to the Waltersdorfer Dreieck junction and go north. Very soon you will be greeted with big "ILA" signs above the road, which at some point will direct you right. From then on, just follow the traffic regulations and indications of the people onsite. The public parking space is huge, certainly enough to accomodate everybody.

Once you park the car, take the (free) shuttle bus to the showground. Expect big crowds queuing to the buses.


General note: as usual for such big events, it's important to book early. Otherwise, only either the most obscure, or most expensive places will be still available.

If you are on a budget and have your own car around, Etap Hotel Berlin Schönefeld[external] is probably the best choice. It is cheap (standard Etap-prices, 30EUR/night without breakfast) and very conveniently located[map]. However, if you rely on the public transport, it is a bit difficult to get in/out. In 2006 I actually had a walk all the way around the airport, in order to catch my return train :-)

If you don't have a car... what I recommend is simply finding anything that is close to S-Bahn station, preferably S9 or S45.

Alternatively, you may also consider something closer to the airport:

If you book early, any of these hotels should get you a double room for around 70-80EUR per night.

In the same commercial area you will also find the Pension Schwalbenweg[external] - with even more reasonable prices.


Similarly to other commercial events, ILA is split into two parts:

The displays usually start at 10am and last until 5pm, with some big aerobatic team (often Patrouille Suisse) closing the day.

Photo opportunities (public)

Dynamic display

With runway oriented E-W and the public having the sun behind, ILA is rather good place for taking photos of the action. There are usually two main problems:

NOTE Most of the photos you see here were taken from the press tribune. Which, incidentially, is not at all the best place :-D but I discovered that only later ;-) Read on.

Dynamic parking and static display

The dynamic parking is located in front of the eastern-side chalets, behind the eastern public area. While photographing it right from there is difficult, because: a) you're facing the sun and b) you have lots of chalet clutter in the background, there are few other spots that may be useful.

Photo opportunities (other)


As you would expect on a trade show, facilities are pretty good. There are enough toilets (I don't remember seeing lots of queues), some of them placed in "strategic" places close to the crowdline. Similarly, the food - you should be able to get something without walking too far. Check out the showground plan[external] on the official website for the up-to-date information.

Price level

Entry tickets (general public - Friday to Sunday)

Single day ticket:19€
Reduced single day ticket (students/handicaped):12€
Children under 6 years:free

Entry tickets (trade visitors - Tuesday to Thursday)

(Note that you must be 18 years old to be eligible for a trade visitor ticket).

1-day pass:50€
Permanent pass, valid for whole week:125€

Tickets can be purchased in advance online, see the official website[external] for details.

Last updated: 31-12-2010, 21:39

Photos from ILA Berlin

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