The world’s shortest commercial runway, a 400-meter-long strip at Juancho E Irausquin Airport on the Carribbean island of Saba, has been named the world’s most scenic airport approach in a global survey conducted by PrivateFly, a booking platform for private jet charters.

“Flying into Saba is extraordinary,” says Adam Twidell, PrivateFly CEO and an experienced pilot. “You approach the mountainous island towering out of the sea, to see an impossibly tiny runway appear perched on a cliff.”

Pilots must have special training to land at Saba and only certain turboprop aircraft such as the BN-2 Islander or Grand Caravan are agile enough to execute the necessary short stop.

“Saba has an exceptional safety record making it one of the most memorable civilian aviation experiences available anywhere in the world,” Twidell adds.

New entries in this year’s top 10 include Gibraltar Airport, which makes the most of the territory’s 2.3 square miles of space by sharing space with one of the peninsula’s main roads.
Pedestrians and cars need to stop on either side of the runway every time an aircraft takes off or lands.

10 most scenic airport landings, according to PrivateFly

1. Saba (Juancho E Yrausquin Airport), Dutch Caribbean

Juancho E Yrausquin Airport is the only airport on the Carribean Island of Saba, a special municipality of the Netherlands. It’s got the shortest commercial runway in the world (396 meters) and is flanked on one side by high hills, with cliffs that drop into the sea at both ends. Due to the runway length, only small crafts and helicopters make use of it.

2. Donegal Airport, Ireland

It is located 2 NM (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) south-west of Bunbeg in Carrickfinn, a townland in The Rosses, a district in north-west County Donegal, Ireland. The airport is on the county’s north-west coast. about a 15-minute drive from Dungloe and Gweedore and 45 minutes from Letterkenny. It is popularly known within County Donegal as Carrickfinn Airport.

3. Nice Cote d’Azur, France

This is an international airport located 3.2 NM (5.9 km; 3.7 mi) southwest of Nice, in the AlpesMaritimes départment of France. It is the third busiest airport in France and serves as a focus city for Air France and an operating base for easyJet. In 2013, it handled 11,554,195 passengers. The airport is positioned 7 km (4 mi) west of the city centre, and is the principal port of arrival for passengers to the Côte d’Azur. Due to its proximity to the Principality of Monaco, it also serves as the city-state’s airport, with helicopter service linking the principality and airport.It is the main point of arrival for passengers to the French Riviera.

4. Gibraltar Airport, UK

Located just 500 meters from the city centre, Gibraltar’s airport landing strip shares space with one of the peninsula’s main roads. Pedestrians and cars on this British territory need to stop on either side of  the runway everytime an aircraft takes off or land.

5. Queenstown Airport, New Zealand

Located in the heart of the NZ South Island’s magical landscapes of mountains, lakes and rivers, there’s little surprise Queenstown Airport again ranks among the world’s scenic airport approaches.

6. London City Airport, UK

Flying into London City Airport on a clear day, those in window seats get views of the Thames and London landmarks. For pilots, it’s challenging. Private Fly says the glide path is set at stomach-churning 5.8 degrees as opposed to the usual 3-degree glide path.

7. St Maarten Airport (Princess Juliana International), Caribbean

Princess Juliana International Airport (also known as Saint Maarten International Airport) is the main airport on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, located on the Dutch side of the island in the country of Saint Maarten. In 2010, the airport handled 1,645,105 passengers and 60,870 aircraft movements. The airport serves as a hub for Windward Islands Airways and is the major gateway for the smaller Leeward Islands, including Anguilla, Saba, St. Barthélemy and St. Eustatius. It is named after Juliana of the Netherlands, who as crown princess landed here in 1944, the year after the airport opened. There is also an airport on the French side of the island, called Aéroport de Grand Case or L’Espérance Airport.

The airport is perhaps best known for very low-altitude flyover landing approaches due to one end of its runway being extremely close to the shore and Maho Beach.

8. Orlando Melbourne Airport, USA

Orlando Melbourne International Airport is a public airport 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northwest of downtown Melbourne, in Brevard County, Florida, United States. On central Florida’s Space Coast, the airport is reached by NASA Boulevard (State Road 508). It is governed by a seven-member board which is appointed by the Melbourne City Council and the private sector.

9. Barra Airport, Scotland, UK

Barra Airport in the Scottish Outer Hebrides is the only airport in the world where scheduled and private carter flights and take off from the beach. At high tides, the runways are under water.

10. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Canada

The airport is located on the Toronto Islands, south-west of Downtown Toronto. The airport has one main east-west runway, a shorter runway 20 degrees off, and a seaplane base, Billy Bishop Toronto City Water Aerodrome. The airport is used for regional airline service and for general aviation, including medical emergency flights (due to its proximity to downtown hospitals), small charter flights, and private aviation. Under its operating agreement, jet aircraft are banned from the airport, with the exception of MEDEVAC flights. There is one passenger terminal at the airport, built in 2010.

Content courtesy of CNN Travel


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