This collection includes the 10 most unusual airports in the world. Each of them, one way or another, stand out among others for its originality and inventiveness of engineering thought.
Gisborne Airport, New Zealand
The small airport in the small town of Gisborne in the north of New Zealand is not very remarkable – the planes do not often visit it, and mostly small, since the runway is rather narrow, and there are no large settlements nearby. No one in the world, except for the few inhabitants of the town of Gisborne, would have known about it, if not for one remarkable circumstance: the actual railway passes right in the middle of the runway. Airplanes sometimes have to wait for the next train to pass before continuing to land.
Princess Juliana International Airport, island of Saint Martin
The butt end of the airport runway is located directly on the seashore, close to the Maho beach, so that the landing aircraft fly at an altitude of 10-20 meters above the heads of tourists resting on the beach behind the runway. The place is known as “Paradise for the spotter.”
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, island of Saba
The airport, named after the Aruban Minister Juancho Irausquin, has the shortest commercial runways in the world, only 400 metres (1,312 ft) long, flanked on one side by high hills, with cliffs that drop into the sea at both ends. Although the airport is closed to jet traffic, regional airline propeller aircraft are able to land there under waivers from The Netherlands Antilles’ Civil Aviation Authority. The most common aircraft to land there are the Twin Otter and BN-2 Islander.
Gibraltar Airport, Gibraltar
In Gibraltar, in this small, but strategically important, overseas territory of Great Britain there is an airport, the runway of which is crossed by the largest automobile road of the local city. Every time when the plane takes off or landing, the transport artery has to be blocked. Despite the fact that the owner of the airport is the Ministry of Defense of Great Britain, in addition to the military, there are sometimes civilian flights.
Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo, Madeira, Portugal
The airport is considered one of the most peculiarly perilous airports in the world due to its location and its spectacular runway construction. It received the Outstanding Structure Award in 2004 by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering. The History Channel program Most Extreme Airports ranked it as the ninth most dangerous airport in the world, and the third most dangerous in Europe. Pilots must undergo additional training to land at the airport.
In 2000, the structure was completed from 180 reinforced concrete pillars, 5 meters in diameter each, which are the base of the strip. Sometimes the towers rise 50 meters above sea level. This design, however, is not explained by the creativity of the engineer, but by practical necessity: previously, Madeira’s airport was too complicated to land because of the surrounding landscape.
Courchevel Airport, France
A place well known to fans of James Bond films (in “Tomorrow never dies”, Bond successfully landed a plane here). It has one of the shortest runways in the world (525 meters), and at an 18% incline. Cope with landing here can only very experienced pilots. Given that the airport is located in the French Alps, it can boast of awesome views.
Barra Airport, Scotland
The uniqueness of the airport is ensured by the fact that all three of its runways are nothing more than a sandy beach. It is located on the northern tip of the Scottish island of Barra, one of the ten most dangerous airports in the world. During high tides, its functionality ceases until the water again exposes the runway. The only thing that the stripes are limited by and marked in their length is a wooden fence. Designed for very small aircraft.
Ice Runway, Antarctic
Ice Ranvey, in fact, is not even an airport, but one of the most famous runways located in the Antarctic region. The difficulty for landing is not only ice, but also severe weather conditions. At the beginning of each season, the strip is cleared of snow for aircraft carrying special cargo and passengers to the largest Antarctic settlement McMurdo located nearby. Despite the fact that the danger of falling under the ice for planes is quite real, very large planes like the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy landed here. In early December, when the ice begins to break, the strip is no longer used.
Daocheng Yading Airport, Daocheng County
This airport is located at a record height of 4,411 meters above sea level. Remarkable and the fact that the airport terminal resembles a flying saucer.
Kansai International Airport, Japan
Probably the most unusual airport in the world, Kansai is entirely located on two islands, and completely artificial. With the land of the island connects the only bridge with a length of 3 km. Osaka Bay, where the airport is located, is one of the most seismically active points in the world, so large funds had to be spent on strengthening the structures of the terminal and the runway. They themselves, however, paid off. In 1996, many areas of Japan were struck by the strongest earthquake of 7 on the Richter scale, and in 1998 a powerful typhoon swept right above the airport, the wind speed in which reached 200 km/h. Kansai successfully survived both natural disasters and continued to function. In addition, the problem of the gradual subsidence of the island’s soil was resolved. At the moment, it is planned to build another terminal and a third runway.