The world’s 10 most scenic airport approaches

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Published: May 21, 2017 4:04:32 AM

Here are some aircraft landings offering views of everything from mountainous landscapes to glittering skyscrapers, as per a list prepared by global private jet charter broker company PrivateFly...

Juancho E Irausquin Airport, Saba

Here are some aircraft landings offering views of everything from mountainous landscapes to glittering skyscrapers, as per a list prepared by global private jet charter broker company PrivateFly…

Nice Cote d’Azur Airport, France

Nice Cote d’Azur Airport is located 6 km south-west of Nice in the Alpes-Maritimes department of France. It’s the main point of arrival for passengers to the French Riviera. Due to its proximity to the principality of Monaco, it also serves as Monaco’s airport, with a helicopter service linking the city and airport.

Gibraltar Airport

Located just 500 m from the city centre, Gibraltar’s airport landing strip shares space with one of the peninsula’s main roads. Coming in from either east or west, the approach offers amazing views of this jewel of the Med. It also has one of the shortest runways and always provides entertainment on landing. Pedestrians and cars on this British territory need to stop on either side of the runway every time an aircraft takes off or lands, says PrivateFly.

Queenstown Airport, New Zealand

Located in the heart of South Island’s magical landscape of mountains, lakes and rivers, there’s little surprise that Queenstown Airport ranks among the world’s most scenic airport approaches. Drop out of the clouds between the mountains and into a lush valley with a lake in the distance. It has a bit of everything. Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly, was quoted as saying by media reports that, “New Zealand’s South Island has some of the most jawdropping natural sceneries available anywhere in the world and Queenstown Airport’s landing offers the perfect airside introduction.”

London City Airport, UK

Landing at London City Airport is not only convenient for work, it also offers an ever-changing snapshot of one of the greatest cities in the world. 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. PrivateFly says the glide path is set at a stomach-churning 5.8 degrees as opposed to the usual 3-degree glide path.

St Maarten Airport, Saint Martin

At this Caribbean island airport, also known as Princess Juliana International Airport, the approach is “so low you can almost read the sunbathers’ newspapers,” says Twidell. The beautiful scene of the plane coming in over the sea and the thrilling experience of seeing the low landing makes for some of the most beautiful pictures.

Orlando Melbourne International Airport, US

A new entry on this year’s list, Orlando Melbourne International Airport made headlines in February when US President Trump chose it as a location for a rally. It’s a beautiful beachside landing over Florida’s Space Coast. “The airport offers an awe-inspiring welcome before you even land, with a warm, coastal headwind accompanied by an endless view of our breathtaking beaches,” Greg Donovan, executive director of Orlando Melbourne International, was quoted as saying by media reports. “Depending on where you’re inbound from, you’ll catch sight of Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center and rocket launch pads, or a Disney ship departing Port Canaveral on its way to the Caribbean.”

Barra Airport, UK

Barra Airport in the Scottish Outer Hebrides is the only airport in the world where scheduled and private charter flights land and take off from the beach. At high tide, the runways are under water, says PrivateFly. Its natural beauty is breathtaking and landing on the beach has to be a number one bucket list must-do. The first planes landed on the sand in the wide bay of Traigh Mhor in June 1936. It was officially licensed as an airport in August that year. Today, it is one of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd’s busiest sites and regularly features on lists of the world’s most scenic airports.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Canada

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, located on an island in Toronto Harbour, is just offshore from the city’s downtown business and tourism districts. The airport is connected to the mainland by the pedestrian tunnel, or the short ferry ride that is scheduled to run every 15 minutes. When you approach Billy Bishop, the view is breathtaking, framing the striking cityscape against the harbour. Billy Bishop Airport is an important international gateway and a key driver to Toronto’s economy, accounting for more than $2.1 billion in economic output each year and supporting 6,500 jobs, including 1,960 directly associated with the airport operations.

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Donegal Airport, Ireland

Donegal Airport is an airport on Ireland’s north-west coast, known as the Wild Atlantic Way. It is also known as Carrickfinn Airport. “You arrive in the Emerald Isle adjacent to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Carrickfinn, with a backdrop of the majestic Mount Errigal on one side and an array of craggy islands on the other,” was one PrivateFly user’s enthusiastic verdict on this airport on Ireland’s Atlantic coast.

Juancho E Irausquin Airport, Saba

Juancho E Irausquin Airport is the only airport on the Caribbean island of Saba, a special municipality of the Netherlands. It’s got the shortest commercial runway in the world at 396 m and is flanked by high hills and cliffs that drop into the sea at both ends. Due to the runway length, only small aircraft and helicopters use it. Landing at Saba is essentially playing a game of chicken with a mountain sticking up in the middle of the ocean. Aim right for it and, at the last possible moment, take a sharp turn to drop down on the shortest active commercial runway in the world.

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