We receive a lot of private charter requests to fly into Samedan Airport at this time of year, only 5km’s from St. Moritz and therefore on the doorstep of some of the very best skiing in Europe. It’s possible for you to literally go from your private jet to your chalet in twenty minutes.
With an elevation of close to 6,000 feet, the air is thin, and this combined with ice, snow, wind, and a lack of any ILS make Samedan an airport to keep most pilots on their toes. Which lead us to think about some other airports which provide a bit of excitement as you come in to land…
The runway is very short and has a steep gradient, conditions can be very challenging, and there is a vertical cliff at the bottom of the strip. On the other hand, you can ski straight from the terminal building, and will have incredible views as you approach the airfield.
Saba Airport, Dutch Antilles
Saba, in the Caribbean, is a beautiful island and getting there is half the fun. The runway is, at 400m, reputedly one of the shortest commercial strips in the world. On top of this there are steep hills to one side, cliffs at both ends, and the sea on the remaining side. Once you are safely down, however, it will all seem worth it as you enjoy a relaxing Caribbean break.
Built out over the sea, and with winds coming down off the hills behind the runway, Madeira requires a good level of concentration from pilots as they approach the airport. There is also a relatively short runway as far as larger commercial traffic is concerned, but the charm and beauty of this little island in the Atlantic ensures there are plenty wanting to visit.
Princess Juliana Airport, St Maarten
It is not so much that there is any particular difficulty in landing at this renown airport, more so how close one comes to the beach adjacent to the end of the runway which makes it such fun. Aircraft regularly come and go, and immediately prior to touchdown can be as little as 50 feet above the permanent crowd of plane spotters who welcome new visitors to the island. An additional Caribbean thrill, to say the least!
London City Airport
Flying in to London City is a great experience. With a short runway, pilots require special certification to land here as it requires a steeper glideslope than usual for commercial or private aircraft, given its unique location in the heart of London. On the other hand, approach and landing give some spectacular views of London’s increasingly dynamic skyline, and once on the ground, conveniently close to the centre of the city.
Fly from London City Airport to Samedan, St Moritz with Villiers from €10,760, or request pricing online to fly to or from any other destination worldwide.