Most scenic airport touch-downs picked in web contest

February 1, 2013

St Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport boasts the world’s most visually appealing landing, according to respondents of a survey.

Private jet bookers asked travellers and an expert judging panel for their bucket list of global descents.

Passengers touching down onto the Caribbean island of St Maarten can feel they are landing among the sun-loungers as the descent is just metres from the beach.

“The approach begins over an expanse of blue Caribbean, coming in so low and close to the beach you can almost read the sunbathers’ newspapers below. It literally takes your breath away, says Adam Twidell, CEO of

A panel of judges were asked to choose their top three landings, which then formed the shortlist for a public vote. 1,711 votes were received in total. Your correspondent favoured Paro in Bhutan, which he described thus:

“Landing at Paro… the aircraft weaves precariously through colossal never-summitted mountains, buffeted by treacherous winds, and before touching down comes dastardly close to taking a few picturesque roofs off nearby houses.”

The defending champion of the 2012 vote came in at number two – the tidal beach runway on the Isle of Barra, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.

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