WIRED, the leading US tech and science magazine, has named Barra’s Traigh Mor one of the world’s top 10 extreme runways.
Barra was selected from among the 41,000 airports worldwide as having a landing strip that is “really a challenge” for airline pilots and ranked 10th in the world.
The top 10 “most extreme runways” were selected for their unique topographies, high altitude, unpredictable weather or complex take-off and landing approach procedures that test even the most seasoned of pilots and require specific training or years of local experience.
Writing about Barra and its 'bucket list' airport, WIRED said: “Located in the extreme Hebrides, the northernmost part of the islands off the coast of Scotland, where even the Vikings didn’t like to sail, the airport of the Isle of Barra has a particularity that makes it quite unique. Its three short runways, arranged in a triangle and delimited by permanent poles, can only be used at low tide because, at high tide, they are completely submerged. Barra is, in fact, the only airport in the world whose runway is on the beach.”
The former Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong topped the list of extreme runways despite being closed since 1998.
Gibraltar International Airport was placed second for its “unique characteristics” in having a runway overhanging the sea, while third place went to Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport on the Caribbean island of Saba, which is attributed with the title of the shortest commercial runway in the world.
Also placed in the top five were Princess Juliana International Airport on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin and Madeira’s Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport.
The remaining extreme runways ranked above Barra were in the Himalayas, Bhutan’s Paro International Airport and the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal.
Eighth and ninth places were occupied by the Ice Runway in Antarctica and Kansai International Airport in Japan.