The Most Interesting and Scenic Airport Runways in the World
chevron_left Back to News Page
Published March 21, 2024
share Share

Travel is not just about the destination but also about the journey—and sometimes, that journey starts with the airport runway. Some airports around the globe boast runways that transform landing and takeoff into an unforgettable experience. From the sandy shores of Scotland’s Barra Airport to the innovative, water-based design of Japan’s Kansai Airport, these runways are more than just strips of pavement; they’re gateways to the world’s natural and engineered marvels. Let’s explore the most interesting and scenic airport runways that offer not just a passage for aircraft but an introduction to some of the planet’s most striking landscapes and remarkable feats of engineering.

Barra Airport, Scotland: A Beach Runway

Unique in every sense, Barra Airport in Scotland is one of the few airports in the world where the runway is literally a beach. The airport’s three runways are laid out on the sands of Traigh Mhòr beach, submerged under the sea at high tide. Landing here depends as much on the tide schedule as on the flight schedule, offering a rare experience. The scenic approach over the North Atlantic Ocean, framed by Scotland’s rugged landscapes, is simply breathtaking, making Barra Airport a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Barra Airport (BRR) – Scotland

Courchevel Altiport, France: A Thrilling Alpine Landing

The Courchevel Altiport serves the ski resort of the same name in the French Alps and is renowned for its short, sloping runway. Spanning just 537 meters, the runway demands precision and skill from pilots during landing. The approach, through deep valleys surrounded by the towering Alps, and the exhilarating departure, with a precipitous drop at the runway’s end, make Courchevel Altiport not only a gateway to world-class skiing but also an adrenaline-pumping experience for those who fly in.

Courchevel Altiport (LFLJ) – France

Princess Juliana Airport (SXM), St. Maarten: Up Close and Personal

Princess Juliana International Airport, better known as SXM, has gained fame for its runway that allows beachgoers at Maho Beach to witness large aircraft landing mere meters above their heads. This close encounter provides an extraordinary spectacle for both travelers and onlookers, earning SXM a spot as one of the most iconic and photographed runways worldwide.

Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) – St. Maarten

Kansai International Airport, Japan: An Engineering Marvel on Water

Kansai International Airport stands as a testament to human ingenuity and determination. Notably, it was the first airport ever constructed on water, opening its runways in 1994 on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, Japan. Designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano, Kansai Airport was created to alleviate congestion at Osaka’s terrestrial airports. Passengers are treated to breathtaking ocean views during takeoff and landing, making the airport’s setting as memorable as its architectural and engineering achievements. The construction of Kansai Airport is a marvel, particularly considering the challenges associated with building on an artificial island, which places it among the most interesting and visually appealing runways in the world.

Kansai International Airport (KIX) – Japan

These airports surpass their basic roles, transforming travel into an extraordinary journey. They highlight the incredible blend of nature’s wonders and human achievement, from the beauty of a beach that hosts aircrafts to the engineering marvel of an airport floating on water, each site provides a unique glimpse into the fascinating interplay between nature and human ingenuity. They remind us that the journey can be just as captivating as the destination.

newspaperBack to News Page