The most spectacular airstrips in the world

Not all airstrips are in conventional airports, there are airstrips really impressive because of their dimensions or natural situation. In this article we are going to know some of these runways with incredible aerial views, amazing facilities or heart attack situations.

Malé International Airport (Maldives)

Velana International Airport, also known as Malé International Airport or even Maldives Airport. It is the gateway to the Maldives, a tropical country made up of more than 1,000 islands. Currently this is the only airport in the archipelago that offers international flights. It is located on Hulhule Island, near the capital, Malé.

The only asphalt track is located only two meters above sea level, and occupies the entire length of the island. Landing here, puts pilots to the test, as a small miscalculation could cause the plane to end up in the Indian Ocean.

In the last few years the airport has been remodeled to give it a more modern and secure appearance due to the increase in the number of tourists.

There are currently three main terminals: international, domestic and a seaplane terminal.

Gibraltar Airport (Spain)

It is considered one of the most peculiar airports in the world because the landing strip crosses a road. Specifically, the busiest street in the city, Winston Churchill Avenue, a place where pedestrians and any type of two or four-wheeled vehicle circulate regularly.

The runway is 1,829 meters long and operates with only 70 weekly flights. Every time a flight needs to land or take off, the traffic stops for approximately 15 minutes, and resumes again once the operation is over.

The terminal was inaugurated in 2011 and has a capacity of up to one and a half million passengers per year in its more than 35,000m2.

It has two check-in counters and three boarding gates in the exclusive area for passengers. As there is no access bridge, to reach the planes you have to walk along the runway.

Due to its geographical location, in the center of the Strait, cross winds are common, which adds difficulty to take-off and landing operations.

Princess Juliana International Airport (Caribbean)

Princess Juliana International Airport is located on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten, which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is located next to Maho Beach, the only beach in the world that is adjacent to an airport.

It is the third airport with the highest number of passengers in the Caribbean area. It is a very popular site for tourists and aeronautical observers, who visit the beach to observe the planes landing 25 meters above their heads.

Seeing the planes passing over the beach is such a popular activity that the daily schedules of arrivals and departures of the airlines are shown in a table in most of the bars and restaurants in the area.

Barra Beach Airport (Scotland)

Barra Airport is located in Traigh Mhor Bay, on the northern tip of this 13-kilometer island.

The great peculiarity of this airport is that there is no asphalt runway with lights and signs, but the landing is made on a beach, and only during low tide. Several rows of posts delimit and mark the head of the runways as beacons.

The only planes that operate regularly in this airport are those of the Loganair company, which offers two daily flights from Glasgow airport.

Crew members have two opportunities to try to land and, if they feel that conditions are not right, they are forced to turn around and return to their home airport.

Paro International Airport (Bhutan)

Paro International Airport is the only one in Bhutan, a small and unknown country closed to the West for centuries, located in South Asia.

It is considered one of the most dangerous in the world for taking off and landing, since it is built in the middle of the Himalayan mountain range.

The airport, a little more than 1,200 meters long, is built in a valley, on the banks of the Paro Chu River. It is surrounded by mountains that surpass the 5,500 meters of height. Its location is the consequence of the rugged topography of the area.

This characteristic, together with not very favorable weather conditions, means that only a small number of experienced, properly trained and accredited pilots can land there. Only 17 pilots worldwide are allowed to fly a plane there.

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (Caribbean)

The Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport was built in 1963 and is located in the Caribbean, in the Netherlands Antilles, specifically on the island of Saba.

With only 400 meters it is considered the shortest open airstrip for commercial flights in the world. Given its small dimensions, it is only used by small planes and helicopters, which connect the island directly with others in the archipelago.

One of the singularities of this airport is that it is surrounded by cliffs, on both sides, so it is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world, although there has never been an accident in it.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport (Nepal)

The Tenzing-Hillary airport, also known as Lukla airport, was built in 1964 in the small town of Lukla, east of Nepal.

It is known because it is in the place where most climbers start the climb to Mount Everest Base Camp.

It is considered the most dangerous airport in the world, that is why only helicopters and small planes are allowed to land there, besides only well trained pilots can take off and land there.

The length of the track, about 527 meters in length, and its altitude, 2,860 meters above sea level, are not the only dangerous attributes. At the landing point of the runway there is a stone wall and a rugged mountain, and when taking off, the runway ends at the edge of a high cliff, and if it does not rise in time, the fall down the mountainside is inevitable.

We leave you a video of how it would be to land in this airport recorded from inside the plane:

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If you liked this article and you want to discover the most spectacular landings in the world, we invite you to read this article.