Air transport is the safest in the world, let us remember. So we salute the prowess of the pilots who land every day at the airports of our selection! With their spectacular trails, they terrorize the most nervous travelers and amaze others by the beauty of their landscape. Hang your belts!
No. 10 - Kansai Airport, Osaka, Japan
Built in 1994 on an artificial island, Osaka Airport in Japan is an example of modern architecture. Connected to the mainland by a 3.75 km long bridge, it was designed to withstand earthquakes, which are unfortunately common in the region. Some specialists in global warming are quite pessimistic and give less than 50 years of life expectancy to the structure
No. 9 - Courchevel Airfield, France
In the centre of the French Alps, the Courchevel aerodrome is reserved for experienced pilots... With a slope of 18.5°, its runway is surrounded by mountains and it is often confronted with harsh weather conditions that put a strain on take-off and landing manoeuvres. However, the splendid landscape quickly makes us forget all our fears!
N° 8 - Barra Airfield, Éhusk
Off the coast of Scotland, the small island of Barra hosts a rather special airport... It is the only runway in the world located directly on a beach. Even crazier, aircraft schedules are managed according to the tides: when it is high, the runway is covered by the sea, so it is impassable. However, when the airport is in operation, vacationers are evacuated at each takeoff and landing.
No. 7 - Gibraltar Airport, United Kingdom
The small peninsula of Gibraltar, in the south of Spain, has a very special airport: it is crossed by the main avenue of the territory, the only road that connects Gibraltar to Spain (so it is very busy!). How is that possible? Like a level crossing, barriers are lowered with each landing or take-off manoeuvre.
No. 6 - Sion Airport, Switzerland
Sion Airport in Switzerland is not so impressive for its airstrip as for its breathtaking panorama. Indeed, during takeoff and landing, pilots and passengers are amazed by the splendid view of the peaks. The airport came out on top in a survey that identified the most beautiful panoramas in the world during the landing and take-off phase according to travellers.
No. 5 - Tenzing Hillary Airport, Lukla, Nepal
All those who dream of the Himalayas know and fear it, Lukla airport in Nepal is one of the most dangerous in the world. During landing, pilots must brake as quickly as possible because the runway is very short and overlooks a precipice. That's the price you pay for admiring the snow-covered peaks of the world's highest mountains!
No. 4 - Funchal Airport, Madeira
Madeira airport is considered one of the most dangerous in the world, only the most experienced pilots are allowed to land there... And for good reason: the runway is close to cliffs that cause differences between wind speed and direction that automated systems cannot manage. It is therefore not given to everyone to land on this paradisiacal island in Portugal.
No. 3 - Gustaf III Airport, Saint-Barthélemy
The runway at Saint-Barthélemy airport is so small that it can only accommodate aircraft with less than 20 passengers, generally all from the island of Saint-Martin (where the airport is also quite impressive!). Here, there is no road separating the track from the public beach, so it is a real dive into the sea that awaits you as soon as you arrive!
No. 2 - Ice Runway, Antarctica
Located in Antarctica, the "ice runway" is reserved for the best pilots... And we understand why! As its name suggests, it is built on the ice floe: it therefore requires a certain skill to avoid risking an overrun of the runway. The experience must be spectacular.... Too bad it's only for American researchers at the United States Antartic Program!
No. 1 - Princess Juliana Airport, Sint Maarten
It is impossible not to mention this Caribbean airport! Imagine yourself sunbathing quietly on the beach when suddenly a plane passes a few meters above your head. Well, that's what happens every day in Maho Beach! The beach has become a real tourist attraction and many videos of these spectacular landings have created a buzz on the Internet.