The International Civil Aviation Organization defines a runway as a rectangular area of land specifically prepared for the landing and takeoff of aircraft. Some airport runways are man-made surfaces, often made of asphalt, concrete, or a mixture of both, and some are natural surfaces such as dirt, gravel or ice.
Most runways look like a highway, just an industrial looking road leading to the airport. But some are treated as an entryway to the country. Whether by choice or chance these runways are spectacularly impressive.
Let’s check the most impressive airport runways around the world.
Marseille Provence Airport, France
Offering a stunning landing and an even more stunning take-off, the runway in Marseille airport south of France sticks right out into the water of Etang de Berre.
You can take off and land amidst the azure blue water of this 155 square kilometer lagoon, which gives you a wonderful view from the plane.
In addition to that, it is the fifth busiest airport in France by passenger traffic and the third largest for cargo traffic. Not just a stunning view but also a hip and happening airport.
Cristoforo Colombo Airport, Italy
Named after the Genoese navigator and explorer Christopher Columbus, this airport features one of the most impressive runways in the world.
Genoa Airport is an international airport built on an artificial peninsula. The runway is built on reclaimed land over the Mediterranean. It offers spectacular sea views for passengers while landing and taking off. Landing is the most impressive though as the descent from the mountains behind the city adds a surreal touch.
Barra Airport, Scotland
The only airport in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway, Barra Airport, which lies at the northern tip of the island of Barra in Scotland, opened in 1936.
Three runways are set in a triangle at the beach, marked by wooden poles at their ends. Flight times often change with the tide as these runways are usually submerged under the sea at high tides.
Agatti Airport, India
Agatti Airport is located on the southern end of Agatti Island in India, the takeoff and landing offer an unparalleled view which no passenger will ever forget.
This airport features one asphalt runway, 1204 meters long and 30 meters wide constructed over the sea.
Cristiano Ronaldo Airport, Portugal
Madeira International Airport, or Cristiano Ronaldo airport, is an international airport in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira.
It is one of the most dangerous airports in Europe, only expert pilots can navigate the runway set between rocky hills and ocean.
The runway has been extended 655 feet in 2003. The new extension is a spectacular bridge supported by 180 columns, each 230 feet tall, overlooking the ocean. It looks impressive from all angles!
The airport was renamed as Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017, in honor of the famous soccer star that was born in Madeira.
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba
The smallest commercial airport in the world, this airport lies on the Caribbean island of Saba, Caribbean Netherlands.
The impressive runway is suspended precariously on a tiny shelf of land. On either end of the extremely short 1,299-foot runway is a 60-foot cliff-drop straight into the ocean. Not an easy runway for novice pilots, but a spectacular view for passengers.
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