Travel news is always exciting, and airports are often at the forefront of exciting developments in the travel industry. While many airports may be known for their sleek designs or massive size, there are some airports in the world that serve a much more unique purpose. I've taken the liberty to compile a list of airports that have always fascinated me for their often singular functions.
One such airport is the McMurdo Station Ice Runway in Antarctica. This airport is located on a permanent ice shelf and serves as a transportation hub for scientists and researchers in the region. With only one runway, the airport sees a limited number of flights each year, but it is a critical lifeline for those living and working in Antarctica.
Another unique airport is the Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten. This airport is famous for its close proximity to the beach, with planes flying in low over the heads of sunbathers and swimmers. While the experience of watching a plane land or take off so close to the beach can be thrilling, it has also led to safety concerns and regulations have been put in place to limit access to the beach during certain times of the day.
In the heart of the African continent, the Kigali International Airport in Rwanda is known for its focus on sustainability and green initiatives. With solar panels powering the airport and a rainwater harvesting system in place, the airport is one of the most eco-friendly in the world. Additionally, the airport features locally sourced materials and a stunning design that incorporates traditional Rwandan patterns and colors.
For the aviation history buffs out there, the Tempelhof Airport in Berlin is a must-visit. This airport served as a critical hub during World War II and was later used during the Cold War to provide supplies to the residents of West Berlin. After it was decommissioned, the airport was transformed into a public park, and visitors can now walk, run, or bike along the old runways.
Finally, the Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport in Saba is known for having the shortest commercial runway in the world. With a length of just 400 meters, the airport is only accessible by small aircraft and provides a unique landing experience for those brave enough to make the trip.
While there are many unique airports in the world, these five stand out for their unusual or unexpected purposes. From providing a lifeline to those living and working in Antarctica to preserving aviation history, each airport offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of travel and transportation.
What are some unique airports where you are from?
“McMurdo Station Ice Runway,” National Science Foundation, , https://www.nsf.gov/geo/opp/support/mcmurdo.jsp.
“Princess Juliana International Airport,” Visit St. Maarten, accessed , https://www.st-maarten.com/index.php/island-guide/getting-here/princess-juliana-airport.
“Greening Kigali International Airport,” Rwanda Green Fund, accessed, https://www.fonerwa.org/project/greening-kigali-international-airport.
“History,” Tempelhofer Freiheit, accessed March 30, 2023, https://www.thf-berlin.de/en/history.
“Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport,” Caribbean Journal, accessed , https://www.caribjournal.com/2020/08/10/juancho-e-yrausquin-airport/.