Two Caribbean Islands Among World’s Most Scenic Airport Approaches

Saba’s Juancho E Yrausquin Airport has the shortest commercial runway in the world.


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday May 3, 2017 – PrivateFly, a booking platform for private jet charters, recently named the world’s top 10 most scenic airport approaches, and the Caribbean took off in style with the number one spot, going on to fly high in seventh place.

Taking top spot, Saba’s Juancho E Yrausquin Airport is not only the sole airport on the Dutch Caribbean island, but has the shortest commercial runway in the world (396 metres).

It is flanked on one side by high hills, with cliffs that drop into the sea at both ends. Due to the runway length, only small aircraft and helicopters use it.

Pilots must be specially trained to land at Saba and only certain turboprop aircraft such as the BN-2 Islander or Grand Caravan are agile enough to execute the necessary short stop.

“Flying into Saba is extraordinary,” says Adam Twidell, PrivateFly CEO and an experienced pilot. “You approach the mountainous island towering out of the sea, to see an impossibly tiny runway appear perched on a cliff.

“Saba has an exceptional safety record making it one of the most memorable civilian aviation experiences available anywhere in the world,” Twidell adds.

In seventh place, St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport is probably one of the most famous and photographed landing approaches in the world, with aircraft barely skimming over one of the island’s most popular beaches.

Indeed, the approach is “so low you can almost read the sunbathers’ newspapers,” according to Twidell.

St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport is probably one of the most famous and photographed landing approaches in the world.


A panel of travel experts and aviation fans took part in the annual poll, which this year received more than 8,000 individual votes for a total of 122 global airports.

The final top 10 offer views of everything from mountainous landscapes to glittering skyscrapers.

New entries in this year’s top 10 include Gibraltar Airport, which makes the most of the territory’s 2.3 square miles of space by sharing space with one of the peninsula’s main roads. Pedestrians and cars have to stop on either side of the runway every time an aircraft takes off or lands.

The world’s 10 most scenic airport landings, according to PrivateFly:

  1. Saba (Juancho E Yrausquin Airport), Dutch Caribbean
  2. Donegal Airport, Ireland
  3. Nice Cote d’Azur, France
  4. Gibraltar Airport, UK overseas
  5. Queenstown Airport, New Zealand
  6. London City Airport, UK
  7. St Maarten Airport (Princess Juliana International), Caribbean
  8. Orlando Melbourne Airport, USA
  9. Barra Airport, Scotland, UK
  10. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Canada

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