It is estimated there are more than 41,000 airports in the world.
While it would be impossible to visit them all, component supply specialist Artemis Aerospace ranks their top six must-see runways.
Barra Airport, Isle of Barra, Scotland The only runway in the world where scheduled flights use a tidal beach for take-off and landing, Barra Airport in the Outer Hebrides is as unique as it is spectacular.
Surrounded by rolling hills, the sandy beach is underwater at high tide, meaning flight times vary according to the tides.
Skiathos Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport, Greece
Named after a Greek novelist and native, the short and narrow airport on the picturesque island of Skiathos is a popular destination for plane spotters, who can experience close range take offs and landings from the small stone beach and adjacent public road located at the tip of the runway. Nestled in the Mediterranean and surrounded by hills on both sides, the runway was built using reclaimed land. Pilots need to be specially rated to operate here due to the length and confines of the runway.
Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Lukla, Nepal
Perhaps more infamous as one of the world’s most dangerous airports, Tenzing-Hillary Airport, also known as Lukla Airport, is the main gateway for trekkers visiting Mount Everest Base Camp. Elevated at 9,334 ft, the airport is surrounded by majestic mountains with snow-capped peaks that are often shrouded in cloud, making it an awe-inspiring sight for visitors.
Santos Dumont Airport, Rio de Janeiro
The second major airport serving Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Santos Dumont Airport is located in arguably one of the most scenic coastal cities in the world. Surrounded by mountains, and water that is peppered with lush green islands, the airport overlooks the wide sandy beach of Copacabana with Corcovado and the iconic Cristo Redentor statue visible in the distance. The famous outline of Sugarloaf Mountain, which is on the runway’s direct approach path, makes it tricky for pilots to navigate.
Venice Marco Polo Airport
Although the runway is located on the mainland near to Tessera, passengers flying into Venice’s Marco Polo Airport will get breathtaking views of the lagoon and the abundant beautiful historical buildings. The lagoon and part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making this visually stunning city a must-see on many travellers’ bucket lists.
Voted the most scenic airport in the world for three years in a row, Donegal Airport exudes the rugged charm and wild landscape that is synonymous with Ireland’s coastline. Located on an archipelago and flanked by stretches of clear blue water and soft sand, the runway approach is a visual display of striking and dramatic natural beauty.