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It’s Like The St. Maarten of Greece: Skiathos Is a Challenging Airport For Pilots

With a short runway and water on both ends, Skiathos is unforgiving and a beautiful location for planespotting.

Skiathos is a beautiful and scenic island in Greece that is home to Skiathos Island National Airport. This particular airport is a small one, with a shorter and narrower runway than most. Large commercial jets do not have the ability to land at this airport, and most of the larger aircraft that can land, cannot leave with full fuel due to the short runway. In fact, the largest airport to ever have used this runway was a Boeing 767-200. Most operations involve much smaller aircraft

Despite having added additional length to its runway in an attempt to make things a bit safer, Skiathos is still a very challenging field. Airlines require that their pilots have specialized training to be able to handle the challenging field. The challenges are many.  There is a steep downslope in which you cannot see one end from the other.  The runway is short with water at the approach end.  The surrounding environment has steep terrain nearby.  It is save but very unforgiving.

What makes the field difficult for pilots, makes it incredible for avgeeks and planespotters.  Aircraft approach the field just feet above the spotters.  You can get within 500 feet of the end of the runway to watch the plane land and depart.

The video below is of a Challenger 604 arrival into Skiathos airport.  It demonstrates the skill required to successfully land. This is certainly a beautiful airport to be flying in to, even with the added dangers. However, calm and cool, well trained pilots make it happen every day so their passengers can enjoy the beautiful island.  The video was originally published by DutchPilotGirl on Youtube.

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