In 2011, PrivateFly, an online booking network, asked travel fans and pilots for their most inspirational landing and airport runways in the world. Voters chose a total of 79 global airports, with the top 10 receiving the most votes, as follows:
1. Best of all Runways: Barra Airport (Scotland, UK)
Topping the list with the biggest number of votes was tiny Barra Airport, on Barra Island in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. The airport has a unique beach runway – the only runway in the world for scheduled aircraft – with flight times varying according to the tide as the runway is literally washed away once a day.
The airport is washed away by the tide once a day, and sometimes parked cars with their lights on provide pilots some added visibility, since the airport is naturally lit! The sand runways mean only small propeller-aircraft can land or take off.
2. London City Airport (London, UK).
A highly scenic and steep approach over iconic London landmarks.
3. Jackson Hole Airport (Wyoming, USA).
Surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Grand Teton National Park and mountains.
4. Aruba Airport (Dutch Caribbean).
The runway approach gives stunning ocean and island views.
5. Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (Maldives).
Highly scenic views of the archipelago of the Maldives and Indian Ocean.
6. St Barts Airport (French Caribbean).
Very tight angles, unusual wind conditions and a short runway of 650 metres.
7. Queenstown Airport (New Zealand).
Famously beautiful scenery including Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps and Remarkables mountain ranges.
8. Gibraltar (British overseas territory).
The Gibraltar’s Airport runway and vehicular traffic crossings are at the same level. Vehicles and airplanes alike wait for each other to pass!
9. Narvik Airport (Norway).
One of the world’s most northerly airports, within the Arctic Circle in northern Norway.
10. St Maarten (French/Dutch Caribbean).
Exceptionally close to the beach, with low-flying aircraft skimming the heads of holidaymakers below.