2019 World’s Top 10 Most Scenic Airports
Most people don’t plan their trips based on visiting airports, although some such as Changi in Singapore, Hamad International in Doha, and Barajas in Madrid are worth seeing for their stunning architecture and endless amenities. On the other hand, some airports are worth visiting simply for their scenic approaches.
According to a just-released poll by PrivateFly, a tech-led private charter broker, Donegal Airport ranked first for scenery in 2019, the second straight year it has topped the list after finishing Saba’s Juancho E Yrausquin Airport in 2017.
“PrivateFly’s Scenic Airports Poll re-inspires an excitement for flying by highlighting a number of global descents that just can’t be appreciated in any other way than from above. Too often travelers hurry through the journey to get to their destination; this poll encourages those to stop, take a look through their aircraft window and be awestruck by the joy of flying,” said CEO Adam Twidell of PrivateFly and a former RAF and business jet pilot.
Voters comments about the winner included one who said, “The view is spectacular! Mountains on one side and a beautiful rugged coastline dotted with islands and golden sandy beaches running adjacent to the runway.” Another added, “Most beautiful scenery I ever saw, with the beach on one side with crystal clear water and Mount Errigal standing tall on the other side.”
Managing Director Anne Bonner of Donegal Airport said, “It is indeed a great endorsement from the traveling public and aviation/travel experts. Donegal airport is located in the heart of the Northern Headlands in Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way – now top of the world’s places to visit.”
Barra Airport in Scotland, which uses a beach for a runway and is the only such airport in the world with scheduled flights, took the runner up spot for the second straight year after placing ninth in 2017.
One voter said, “”The approach to Barra airport is awesome – superb views over to Skye and the small isles then seeing the causeway between Eriskay and South Uist coming in over the sand dunes to land on the beach at Barra is a totally unique experience – nothing beats it…every time!”
Third was Nice Airport, the same spot it has been in during the past three surveys, while Orlando Melbourne Airport may be the one to watch for 2020, ranking fourth this time after an eighth-place showing in 2017 and a jump to the sixth spot in 2018.
“The approach over the sea offers a view of the entire Cote d’Azur, including Cannes, Nice, the famous Baie des Anges and the Alpes Maritimes,” noted one voter and fan of window seats.
Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten is known for the tourists who flock to the beach and sometimes get blasted by the jet engines of large aircraft spooling up on the adjacent runway. It made a major move to the fifth place, up four spots since last year.
2017 champion Saba placed sixth this time while Queenstown in New Zealand dropped from fourth to seventh. Billy Bishop Airport which sits on an island 300 feet from downtown Toronto is eighth, followed by London City Airport and new entrant Aosta Airport close to the Swiss border in Northern Italy
In full disclosure, I am part of a travel experts panel put together by PrivateFly who provide suggestions. Sadly, the public didn’t buy into my choice of Miami International Airport. Maybe next year!