If you’re an avid traveller you probably have experienced some unusual landings and scenery when approaching a new destination. There are some airports you love, and other you avoid… We know the feeling! Here are five of our favourite and most scenic airports to land at from around the world:
Princess Juliana International, Caribbean
St Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport is right next door to one of the Caribbean’s most popular beaches. No where else on earth can you get so close to an aeroplane landing than this airport. Beach goers can feel like they are touching the aircraft if they just jump high enough, an incredible experience also for passengers inside the aircraft. This airport is also a prime spot for aircraft spotters – no long lenses required!
Maho beach features famous billboard warning signs claiming “Jet blasts of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extreme bodily harm and/or death”. We recommend watching this video to see how powerful these jets are to the beach goers.
Wilkins Runway, Antarctica
Named after Sir Hubert Wilkins, an early pioneer of Antarctic aviation, this frozen runway sits 700 meters above sea level (incase it melts!) among the Preston Health ice glacier. The aerodrome (airport) is operated by Australia and has been in use for commercial passengers since 2008 after a series of tests and official CASA license.
To travel here you can board a flight from Melbourne or Tasmania on a Airbus A319 during summer. The duration is around four hours. Flights in recent years has dramatically reduced due to the ice melting.
Queenstown, New Zealand
This airport recently won an award for being voted by travellers as the most beautiful runway on earth for scenery. The competition was against 147 other airport runways including Las Vegas. New Zealand’s south island boasts beautiful mountain scenery, green and snow as you approach this airport. While it’s location is slightly difficult for pilots to navigate around the mountains, passengers seem to never want to land because of this stunning window view!
Courchevel ‘Altiport’, French Alps
This short 527 metre runway with a gradient of 18% is situated literally on the side of a mountain. It’s named one of the most dangerous airways in the world! Due to the short runway and grip (from immense snow weather), only small Cessna aircraft commonly occupy the runway and the largest being a Dash 7.
We recommend checking out this nervous video of a plane landing at Courchevel
Gibraltar Airport, UK
Named one of the most extreme airports in the world (History Channel), this runway lands you right in the heart of Gibraltar in the mediterranean. So why was it named most extreme? Well, it crosses over 4 lanes of main road – as you land! As planes approach, the main street along Winston Churchill Avenue are stopped by a boom bridge and must await the aircraft to land.
This short and narrow runway, flying directly into the city is a spectacular and slightly-nervous view for passengers. Fingers crossed you don’t get a flat tyre on that road! The government has recently announced plans to run a tunnel and divert traffic under the runway. According to this video, even passengers can walk across the runway when not in use!
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