The 5 Most Interesting Airports in the World


Airports come in all shapes and sizes, and some are much more pleasant to visit than others.  There are some pretty intriguing runways and terminals in the world!  Don’t take our word for it; have a look for yourself:

  1. Barra, Scotland -- The runways for Barra’s airport in Scotland are not paved and directly on the beach!  Flight landings and takeoffs are subject to the tides, as rising water covers the runways.  While interesting to watch, the sand and gravel are actually really hard on the plane’s mechanisms and this means that the parts must be inspected more frequently.
  2. “Ice Runway”, McMurdo Station, Antarctica -- Yep!  There’s an ‘airport’ in Antarctica!  For obvious reasons, this research station cannot use a paved runway.  Planes land and takeoff from packed snow and ice, which is a gamble at any time of the year.  Landing in soft snow can be very dangerous, so the ground is meticulously checked prior to landing a plane of any size.
  3. Qamdo, Tibet -- One of the highest altitude airports in the world, Qamdo’s runway sits more than 4,300 meters above sea level.  Unfortunately, at high altitudes like this, it takes far longer to stop a large plane.  Tibet’s runway at this airport is 5.6 kilometers long!
  4. Osaka, Japan -- Perhaps the most impressive, jaw-dropping feat of engineering was completed in 1994.  Osaka’s airport is situated on a 4-kilometer-long, man-made island.  Only 4.8 kilometers from shore, the Osaka airport is at risk of being below sea level in the next 50 years due to climate change.
  5. Denver, Colorado, USA -- This airport in the United States is the largest in North America (137.3 square kilometers of land).  Only a small portion of that land is actually airport, however.  When faced with the question of what to do with the remaining land, engineers decided to ‘go green’ and install 9,200 solar panels!  This airport generates enough electricity to power the terminal for half the year!

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