Flying to Barra or London City? Make sure of a window seat
Monday 22 November 2010
The aerial approaches to two British airports feature among the 10 most stunning in the world.
London City Airport and the landing strip at Barra in Scotland's Outer Hebrides could hardly be more different in setting, but both offer passengers views comparable with the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland and the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean, according to a survey by a travel website.
As the only airport in the world to offer scheduled flights that take off and land on a beach rather than on tarmac, Barra, placed at number 10, is certainly unique.
Three runways are marked out on the sandy expanse of Traigh Mhor with wooden poles – but landings need to be planned carefully as the surface is covered with water at high tide.
London City's proximity to water is also a prime reason for its reputation. With its short runway flanked by two docks, it is described by pilots as being comparable to an aircraft carrier. Private-Fly.com, which compiled the list, put it at number seven for its "amazing" views of landmarks such as Canary Wharf tower and the O2 in Greenwich.
The Union Jack also flies over another of the entries, with the airport that straddles the narrow peninsular of Gibraltar making number four on the list. Its runway rivals those of Barra for quirkiness, as it is bisected by a main road that has to be closed to traffic every time an aircraft takes off or comes in to land.
Switzerland's Sion airport took the number one spot for a spectacular approach that takes in the Rhône valley and the surrounding Alps.
The airports at St Maarten and St Barts in the Caribbean were put at two and three, while Switzerland also had a second entry in the form of St Gallen-Altenrhein, set between Lake Constance and the nearby alpine hills.
The top 10 approaches
* Sion, Switzerland
* Princess Juliana Airport, St Maarten, Caribbean
* St Barts, Caribbean
* St Gallen-Altenrhein, Switzerland
* Funchal, Madeira
* London City
* Lukla, Nepal
* McCarran Airport, Las Vegas
* Barra, Outer Hebrides, pictured
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