Land at one of the world’s most scenic airports.
If you’re an avid traveller you’ve might of experienced some unusual and unique scenery landing at a destination. There are some airports to love, and other to avoid… Here are five of my 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 can you get so close to an approaching aircraft. Beach-goers can feel like they’re touching the plane if they jump high enough. It’s also a prime spot for aircraft spotters — no long lenses required.
Maho beach features billboard warning signs claiming “Jet blasts of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extreme bodily harm and/or death”.
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). Located among the Preston Health ice glacier, the aerodrome is operated by Australia and has been in use for commercial passengers since 2008 after a series of tests and gaining an official CASA license.
To land 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 for scenery. The competition was against 147 other airport runways including Las Vegas. New Zealand’s south island boasts beautiful mountain scenery, green or snow depending on the season. Whilst its location is difficult for pilots to navigate around the mountain ridges, passengers get to enjoy the stunning window views.
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, only small Cessna aircraft commonly occupy the runway and the largest being a Dash 7.
Check out this nervous 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 could be that it crosses over 4 lanes of main road traffic— as you land.
As planes approach, the main street along Winston Churchill Avenue are closed down by a boom bridge and must await the aircraft to land.
The government has 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. That’s one road you don’t want to get a flat tyre on.