Large, remote, dangerous or extravagant we have found the ten most unusual airports in the world and put them together exclusively for you. Arrival, departure, stopover: Those who travel by plane often spend hours at airports. But not every airport is the same, some are real attractions. Here you will find the ten most unusual airports in the world that are definitely worth seeing.
St. Maarten, Caribbean: the exciting one
Probably the most famous airport in the world is located on an island of just 34 square kilometers in the middle of the Caribbean and promises pure thrills – not for the flight passengers, but for bathers on the sandy beach. Because the Princess Juliana International Airport on Sint Maarten is only a few meters away from Maho Beach. Planes that take off or land here fly just a few meters above the bathers’ heads and promise breathtaking photos every time.
So it’s no wonder that holidaymakers flock to the small island every year. As spectacular as the airport is, it can also be dangerous: Onlookers regularly injure themselves from the exhaust fumes from aircraft taking off.
Antarctic airfields: the unpredictable
Airports are often found in places where you would not expect them to be. More than 40 of these exist in one of our planet’s most hostile environments, Antarctica . They are mostly served by military aircraft, but commercial flights to the remote continent are also possible – in the summer months from October to March.
The airfields in the Antarctic also have very little in common with conventional airports in other respects: there are no airport buildings, passengers carry their luggage themselves and help with the cargo. The runways are not paved, but are made of ice, gravel or packed snow. The runways often have to be leveled with sea water every year or completely closed due to declining ice quality.
Barra, Scotland: the inconspicuous
as an airport. This is exactly what makes it special: Barra Airport is located on the stretch of beach on the island of the same name on Scotland’s west coast and is one of only two airports in the world with sand runways that are completely submerged in the sea at high tide. Planes only land at low tide – flight times are flexible and depend on the daily tides.
Nevertheless, the airport is regularly approached with small planes in scheduled services. In addition to three runways, Barra Airport consists of a café, which is the arrival and departure area, check-in and waiting area in one. The beach section has been officially approved as an airport since 1936.
Malé, Maldives: the idyllic
Even on the small, idyllic islands of the Maldives there is hardly any space for a large-scale airport. Male International Airport covers almost an entire island and has a very short runway for large aircraft. In addition, it is only built two meters above sea level. Pilots must not make any mistakes during take-off and landing in order not to end up in the Indian Ocean.
airports in the world
Male Airport is currently one of two airports in the Maldives that serve international flights. Since the end of August 2018, a bridge has connected it to the capital Malé – previously, passengers and staff could only reach the airport island by boat or seaplane.
Munich, Germany: the diverse one
For us, Munich Airport is also one of the top ten most exciting airports in the world. Not only was it voted the best airport in Europe by passengers, it is also very popular with visitors. It owes its popularity to the wide range of services and entertainment such as concerts, a Christmas market, public viewing and surfing and biking events in summer. The in-house brewery Airbräu is famous and unique, and traditional Bavarian cuisine can be enjoyed in the restaurant and beer garden.
Lukla, Nepal: is the dangerous airports in the world
Our nearest airport is not for the faint of heart: Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal is considered the most dangerous of all airports. It is located at an altitude of around 2,600 meters in the middle of the Himalayas and has one of the shortest runways in the world at a length of 457 meters. Only helicopters and small planes can fly into the airport, pilots cannot afford to make any mistakes here.
The runway meets a mighty rock face on its north side and a 600 meter deep gorge on the south side. Flights are almost only possible in the morning, because strong winds, fog and bad weather appear from noon onwards. Carved into the mountain in the 1960s, the airport is still used today despite numerous accidents. With good reason: the half-hour flight time to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu saves Everest climbers a week-long hike through impassable mountains.
Doha, Qatar: the extravagant
The youngest and most luxurious airport on our list, Hamad International Airport in Qatar’s capital, Doha, was built at a cost of nearly $16 billion, opened in 2014, and features a total of 28 international works of art, including a robotic dinosaur and a playground with giant metal figures. an extravagant exhibition. The main attraction is a teddy bear in the main hall: the 16-ton, seven-meter-high bronze sculpture sticks its head in a bedside lamp and is intended to remind travelers of their childhood.
In addition to the open museum, lounges with designer furniture, leather sofas and widescreen TVs, the open architecture with lots of light exudes both luxury and tranquility – two things that are rarely associated with airports and which give it its uniqueness in Qatar’s capital.
Atlanta, USA: the largest
Of course, the largest and busiest of all airports cannot be missing from our list. It is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States . As one of the most important hubs in international air traffic, the airport in Atlanta in the US state of Georgia has been the airport with the highest passenger volume since 1998. A total of around 103.9 million passengers traveled to and from Atlanta in 2017.
For comparison: the 24 largest German airports counted 117.6 million passengers in the same year. However, Atlanta set the ultimate record a year earlier: 104,171,935 passengers flew through the busiest airport in the world in 2016. He is also the only one in the world who has ever broken the 100 million mark.
Vacation at the airport? Not an appealing idea for most, but Singapore’s Changi Airport offers so many attractions and leisure options that you won’t be bored for days. The main attraction is a botanical area that offers hundreds of meters of greenery with five different themed gardens, such as the butterfly or cactus garden, and transforms the airport building into a true local recreation area.
Movie theaters, a fish spa, a rooftop swimming pool or a free city tour are just some of the other amenities that the airport spoils travelers from all over the world with. No wonder that it has been showered with awards since it opened in 1980 and has been voted the best airport in the world several times.
Vancouver, Canada: the traditional one
At first glance, Vancouver International Airport looks like a normal airport. But it is an airport that embodies an entire country like no other: the design of the buildings is intended to bring the culture of Canada and North America closer to arriving passengers with wood carvings and sculptures of indigenous peoples.
The expansive architecture is designed to reflect the surrounding landscape with shades of green and blue. Large windows for natural lighting, an artificial waterfall in the arrivals hall and the airport’s main attraction: a 114,000 liter aquarium in the middle of the terminal also serve this purpose. Thanks to this beauty, among other things, the airport has been voted the best airport in North America several times.