Photo tour: Planespotting at San Francisco International (SFO)

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is one of the nation’s top aviation hubs, one of three airports serving the populous Bay Area region of Northern California.

SFO is also a popular spot for aviation buffs, who can witness a broad lineup of international airlines and wide range of aircraft types not seen at many other U.S. airports.

Among U.S. carriers, United Airlines operates a large international hub there while smaller Virgin America counts SFO as its biggest base. SFO’s list of international carriers is impressive, too. Among the airport’s nearly three-dozen foreign-flagged carriers are the likes of Air India, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air France, Qantas, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Avianca and Icelandic carrier WOW.

SFO also wins a favored spot among planespotters for the diversity of aircraft that fly from the airport, including everything from small turboprops and regional jets to the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft: “the superjumbo” Airbus A380. And SFO is one of the top North American airports for spotting a flight operated on one of Boeing’s iconic 747 jumbo jets.

Another unique distinction for SFO: It is home to the world’s longest flight on two different aircraft types.

United flies the world’s longest Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” flight on its route between SFO and Singapore, service United launched just this past June. And SFO became home to the world’s longest route on the Airbus A350 in October when Singapore Airlines began using that brand-new jetliner to launch its own nonstop route between the same cities.

Another notable recent event for SFO: The last-ever US Airways flight departed San Francisco International Airport Oct. 16, 2015. That red-eye flight — Flight 1939 bound for Philadelphia —  became the last to fly under the US Airways name before that carrier was officially absorbed into merger American.

SFO was the USA’s seventh-busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic in 2015, when more than 50 million passengers flew through the facility.

For those wanting a closer look at SFO, check out the above “Behind the scenes” photo gallery. The pictures comes from photojournalist and Today in the Sky contributor Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, who put together the above collection after spending a recent day roaming the grounds at SFO. For good measure, we’ve added a few of our file photos at the end.

Want more? Scroll down to see other recent “behind the scenes” galleries from San Francisco and elsewhere.



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