An airport is a location that is used for take-off and landing purpose for different types of aircraft. There are thousands of airports round the world but many of them are constructed in such a way that they have caught the attention of many people. In this post, we are going to explore 5 amazing airports.
Princess Juliana International Airport (Saint Martin):
Princess Juliana International Airport is located in the Dutch part of Saint Martin, an island in the northeast Caribbean (divided between France and the Netherlands Antilles) and also holds the distinction of being the second busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean. The Airport was built as a small military base in 1942 and later converted into a civilian airport in 1943. The airport is famous for its relatively short runway (2180 meters) and its position between a large hill and a beach, which requires planes to fly extremely low while approaching the island. Photos of large jets flying as low as 10-20 meters over tourists at the beach are scary and may seem fake, but are actually real. There has been no major aviation incident at this airport and it is justifiably a favorite with the plane-spotters.
Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan:
Located on a man-made island in the middle of Osaka Bay in Japan, the Kansai International Airport was built with the intent of easing out air traffic at the Osaka International Airport. With land being a scarce commodity in Japan and being the nation on the helm of technological advancements at the time, a 2.5 miles long and 1.6 miles wide island was created which is also visible from space. Engineers then built the KAI on this island which was formally opened in 1994 and is currently Japan’s second most important international airport. The visual marvel that it is, the KAI was built to overcome the wrath of earthquakes, cyclones and even possible sabotage. The KAI has lasted the disastrous 1995 Kobe earthquake (whose epicenter was just 12 miles away from the airport) as well as a typhoon in 1998 which had wind speeds of up to 120 mph.
The only danger that was foreseen but still remains is gradual sinking of the island owing to the compression caused by the weight of the structure. In fact and as last reported, the island had already sunk 8m thereby adding to the popular fears that it would be underwater in 50 years or so.
Located in the French Alps the Courchevel Airport gets its name from the ski resort of the same name. In fact, it is the largest linked ski area in the world. The airport has a runway of mere 525 metres (thus can accommodate only small private / charter planes or helicopters) which does not have an instrument approach procedure meaning that landing in fog is practically suicidal. Adding to the task of the pilots is the presence of a large hill toward the middle of the strip. Landing is done on the higher incline so that the plane slows down enough, while takeoffs are done towards the decline to pick up speed. Some serious pilot training and great guts are required to touch down at this Airport. Safe landing.
Located between Morocco and Spain, Gibraltar is otherwise a small British Territory, although many people mistake it as part of Spain. The Gibraltar Airport was constructed during the WW-II and opened in 1939 as an emergency airfield for Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (FAA).
While it still continues to serve as a base for the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF), commercial flights for civilians now also operate from the Airport on a daily basis albeit to and fro the United Kingdom alone.
Gibraltar Airport is considered unusual in the sense that its runway actually intersects with a major highway. As a result, traffic is completely shut down when a plane has to take off or land. In some circles it is also referred to as the North Front Airport.
Located in a small island, Madeira, far off the coast of Portugal, the Madeira Airport is also known as Funchal Airport and Santa Catarina Airport. Originally built with a runway of 5000 feet in length, the length was subsequently extended to over 9000 feet by building a massive girder bridge supported by around 200 pillars/ columns which were 70m high. Once infamous for its dangerously short runway, and surrounded by high mountains and the ocean, the airport now controls both national and international air traffic.