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The World's Most Breathtaking Airport Landings - Travel News
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 / Travel News  / The World’s Most Breathtaking Airport Landings
The Airport Landings
9 Jul

The World’s Most Breathtaking Airport Landings

“It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.” This adage rings especially true when it comes to some of the world’s most scenic airport landings. These landings offer travelers a unique blend of exhilaration and breathtaking beauty, transforming the typically mundane process of arrival into an unforgettable experience. As planes descend towards these remarkable destinations, passengers are treated to stunning vistas that range from majestic mountain ranges and crystal-clear lakes to vibrant coastal shores and rugged island landscapes.

Here’s a look at eight of the most scenic airport landings

Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), St. Maarten

Located on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, Princess Juliana International Airport is world-famous for its dramatic and thrilling landings. The airport’s runway begins just a short distance from Maho Beach, providing an unforgettable experience for beachgoers as planes fly a mere 100 feet overhead before touching down. The proximity of the landing approach to the beach has made this spot a popular location for plane-spotting and photography, where the sight of large aircraft descending so close to the ground is both exhilarating and unique.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport (LUA), Lukla, Nepal

Situated at an altitude of 2,846 meters (9,337 feet), Tenzing-Hillary Airport serves as the gateway to the Everest region in Nepal. Known for its challenging landing conditions, the airport’s short runway is perched on a mountainside, with a dramatic drop at one end and high terrain at the other. The approach requires pilots to navigate through a narrow valley surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Himalayas, offering passengers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys.

Queenstown Airport (ZQN), New Zealand

Queenstown Airport nestles in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, renowned for its stunning approach over the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu. As the plane descends, panoramic views of the rugged, snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and verdant landscapes treat passengers. The dramatic natural beauty of the region is especially striking during winter when the mountains are blanketed in snow

Gustaf III Airport (SBH), St. Barts

Gustaf III Airport, also known as St. Jean Airport, is located on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy. The approach to this airport is one of the most thrilling in the world, requiring pilots to navigate over a hilltop and then descend steeply towards the runway, which ends at a beautiful beach. Stunning views of the island’s lush hillsides, sparkling blue waters, and white sandy beaches treat passengers.

Barra Airport (BRR), Scotland

Barra Airport, located on the Isle of Barra in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, is unique for its runway on the beach. It is one of the few places in the world where scheduled flights land on sand, and flight times are dependent on the tide. The approach to Barra Airport offers stunning views of the rugged Scottish coastline, turquoise waters, and sandy beaches. The novelty of landing on a beach, combined with the island’s dramatic and remote landscape, creates a one-of-a-kind experience.

world's most scenic airport landings

Courchevel Altiport (CVF), France

Located in the French Alps, Courchevel Altiport serves the prestigious ski resort of Courchevel. The approach offers breathtaking views of the snow-covered mountains, alpine forests, and the picturesque ski village below. During winter, the landscape is transformed into a winter wonderland, with snow-capped peaks and glistening slopes.

Madeira Airport (FNC), Portugal

Also known as Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport, Madeira Airport is located on the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. The airport is famous for its runway, which extends out into the ocean on a series of stilts, creating a striking visual as planes approach for landing. The approach offers spectacular views of the rugged cliffs, deep blue ocean, and the lush, mountainous terrain of Madeira.

Santos Dumont Airport (SDU), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Landing at Santos Dumont Airport offers spectacular views of Rio’s famous landmarks, including Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, and Guanabara Bay. The approach provides a striking contrast between the urban landscape and natural beauty, making it a visually stunning experience for passengers.

These airports offer some of the most scenic and thrilling landing experiences in the world. From the lush landscapes of the Caribbean to the rugged cliffs of Madeira, each approach provides a unique and unforgettable view, making the journey as memorable as the destination. So next time you book a flight, consider these destinations for an arrival that will take your breath away.