Gibraltar Airport: the runway crosses the road

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Joel Fulleda

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Those who often travel by car know this: seeing their road interrupted by a traffic light, a level crossing or a traffic jam is boring and very annoying, especially if you are in a hurry.
And if your way was interrupted by a plane? It seems an impossible scenario, and instead it really exists, right in Europe and to be precise in Gibraltar.


  1. Gibraltar International Airport in the United Kingdom
  2. Among the most dangerous airports in the world
  3. A solution to the problem!
  4. User questions and comments

Gibraltar International Airport in the United Kingdom

Gibraltar Airport or "North Front Airport" is a civilian airport serving the British overseas territory of Gibraltar.
Gibraltar is a territory belonging to the United Kingdom and is located on the southern coast of Spain, right at the eastern end of the strait that takes its name from it. Its surface is approximately 6,4 sq km and the airport occupies a large part of this area. It is not easy, in fact, to find an area suitable for hosting a take-off or landing runway for airplanes in such a small space.
Precisely for this reason, the road from Spain to Gibraltar, the busy Winston Churchill Avenue, is located at intersect the track. Anyone passing by while a plane is landing or taking off will have to wait for the operations to finish!

Fortunately, the airport is small - in 2015 there were only about 11 flights per day - but the road can be closed for up to two hours a day. The consequence? A long queue is created that blocks the whole city and, sometimes, reaches the border with Spain.
During each take-off or landing operation, the unique "level crossing" remains closed for about 10 minutes. Flights usually depart and arrive from English cities such as London, Birmingham or Manchester.

Among the most dangerous airports in the world

Take-offs and landings are by far the most dangerous part of a flight. Although rare, the chances of a plane crash are higher during these two phases. Add a mix of high mountains, sloping slopes, cliffs, roads that cross the slopes: these are the elements that make an airport really dangerous!
Typically, those who regularly travel by plane have never come to terms with anything scarier than a long flight with a screaming child at their side. In general, in fact, the main airports of the world are quite safe. But not all of them!
Its singular characteristic has allowed Gibraltar airport to enter the special ranking that brings together the 10 most dangerous airports in the world, as well as to be considered the most dangerous of our continent.

A solution to the problem!

Unlike many other airports in this ranking, which have a combination of environmental characteristics to contend with, Gibraltar has a different obstacle that makes it dangerous, which is a man-made construction.
Obviously for years both citizens and "commuters" have been clamoring for a solution to this dangerous situation. The project is for the construction of a road that crosses the track via an underground tunnel. This would allow air traffic and road traffic not to cross each other and finally create a much safer crossroads.
In the meantime, those who are "forced" to frequent this airport can enjoy the thrill of extraordinary take-offs and landings!

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