The World’s Most Unusual Airports
There is a fair element of creativity involved in architecture. That is why structures like the Rotating Tower (Dubai) exist. Due to varied reasons, this sense of creativity has also been applied to airports. Here is our list of 5 unusual airports in the world:
- Gibraltar International Airport also known as North Front Airport (IATA: GIB, ICAO: LXGB), Gibraltar
Driving on an airport runway is commonly seen in action movies. For civilians, driving on a runway is quite unnecessary and often considered illegal. But there actually is an airport where a highway passes across its runway!
Leading toward the border with Spain, the Winston Churchill Avenue cuts from right between the runway. That makes The Gibraltar airport is the only commercial airport in the world that has a highway passing across its runway.
To avoid nasty collisions between planes and road vehicles, the traffic on the highway is closed for 10 minutes in the event of a landing or a takeoff. The proceedings here are so hectic, the History Channel considers this as one of the world’s most extreme airports.
- Barra Airport, Barra, Scotland
You may have heard of beach holiday destinations. But have you heard of a beach airport? Located on the west coast of Scotland, the island of Barra has a rather interesting airport.
Since the 1930s, due to unavailability of paved runways on the island, the beach has been used as an official runway! As a result of this special arrangement, the tides decide the time of landings and takeoffs. For obvious reasons, all three runways of the beach are operational only when the tide is out.
- Courchevel International Airport, Courchevel, France
Situated in a ski resort in the middle of the French Alps, the Courchevel International Airport is both unusual as well as scary. It has not only the highest (2,010 meters above sea level) but also the shortest (537 meters) runways in the world.
Apart from being short, the runway also has an 18.5% steep gradient. Flights take off downhill and land uphill. This does aid incoming flights in stopping before they hit the snow. Lack of nighttime lighting means one simply cannot land on this airport in rough weather or at night.
This makes the Courchevel airport is one of the most difficult airports in the world to make a landing on. In fact, pilots are needed to have a special certification to fly in and out of this airport!
- Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba, Caribbean Netherlands
Only 400 meters long, this runway has been declared as the shortest commercial landing strip in the world. Since this runway is also surrounded by hills and cliffs, it is impossible for a large aircraft to land here. Thus, an “X” is painted to notify larger aircraft to not land here. To land here, a plane needs special approval from the Netherlands Aviation Authority.
- Don Mueang International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
Golf is a rich man’s sport. Many rich men travel to the Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand. Maybe that explains why there is an 18-hole golf course in between 2 runways of this airport!
- Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, US (SAV): Two grave markers embedded into the tarmac of the runway!
- Gisborne Airport, New Zealand: a train line runs right across the runway!
- Madeira International Airport, Portugal: the runway is partly on land and partly on the sea. And more famously the creepy Cristiano Ronaldo statue!
- Princess Juliana International Airport, Simpson Bay, Saint Maarten: the runway starts on a beach!
- Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado: the runways have an uncanny resemblance to the swastika.
- Agatti Airport, Lakshadweep, India: cover the entire island they’re built on!
- Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan: cover the entire island they’re built on!
- Dammam King Fahd International Airport, Dammam, Saudi Arabia: an entire terminal exclusively for the Saudi Royal family.
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