The world’s most interesting airports
For some, a trip to the airport is just a necessary part of the rigmarole to getting away from it all and the sooner we’re out of the departure lounge and on our way the better. However for others, like us here at Flexicover, the airport world is full of fascination.
From runways on reclaimed land to planes that routinely skim close to the heads of onlookers, airports are often an unusual meeting of architecture, engineering, travel and design.
So if you want your next holiday to get off to a flying start try checking out the Flexicover team's rundown of some of our planet’s weird and wonderful airports that make jetting away even more exciting than usual – and that’s saying something.
Gold Coast Airport, Australia
It’s not every airport that cuts across two time zones, but at Gold Coast Airport in Australia, passengers can have plenty of fun breaking the time continuum by flitting around the terminal and runway. As the states of Queensland and New South Wales cut diagonally across this airport, during the summer months so too does the time zone change: either GMT+10 or GMT+11 depending on where you are. But because the last thing air traffic controllers want are timings open to misinterpretations, the airport runs on the Queensland clock throughout the year – so there’s no excuse for missing your flight.
Princess Juliana International Airport, Caribbean
Hold on to your hats when nearing Princess Juliana Airport – the planes risk skimming them off your head as they land very low, and close to everyday traffic. Now a tourist attraction in its own right, St Martin’s main airport is located right next to the previously-relaxing spot of Maho Beach. Sunbathers will be warned of a nearing jet by the roar of its engines, but the approach is so low that their force can knock unsuspecting onlookers into the waters. Knowing this, it would take an adrenaline junkie to stand in its pathway, but luckily for the Dutch island, there are plenty of those about…
Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Nepal
We reckon that people aiming to climb Mount Everest are probably not the sort to suffer with a nervous disposition – which is good news as they may have to land at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal in order to get there. With little flat land in the area, the airport-makers had to make do with what they had and created one of the shortest runways on Earth at just 460m (Heathrow’s is 3,900m). To make matters even more precarious, there’s a sheer cliff on one end of the runway and a steep drop into a valley at the other end, leaving little margin for error. Still, at least passengers know that if they can face this airport without getting too nervy, they have what it takes to climb the world's highest mountain!
Kansai International Airport, Japan
In some built-up cities of the world, it’s expected that airports jut out into the sea because flat land is at a premium. In Japan that was accentuated because of their cramped conditions. In response however they had the engineering smarts to come up with a nifty solution: create an artificial island for their airport. As such, Kansai Airport near Osaka is made from 21 million cubic metres of rock from nearby mountains, on which the $20 billion airport lies. As if the build alone wasn’t enough of a challenge, the airport has also proven itself to be earthquake and typhoon-proof. Where’s the applause emoji when you need it?
Gibraltar Airport, Gibraltar
Well-connected between the tourist airports in southern Spain, the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar only has a small airport but it’s a fascinating one nonetheless. With flat areas at a premium, Winston Churchill Avenue, the major four-lane road linking Gibraltar with the rest of Spain, cuts across the airfield. It means that when a plane is about to land or take off, road traffic is halted for around ten minutes until the plane is either safely in the sky or on terra firma and the barriers are then able to open up again. Now that’s efficient land use.
So wherever you’re heading up, up and away to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.