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Planes Have the Right-of-Way & Close Multiple Lanes of Traffic at This International Airport


Gibraltar International Airport runway crosses a major highway, stopping road traffic anytime an aircraft is scheduled to land.

Frequent flyers are often treated to unique situations in their travels, both in the air and on the ground. While many consider Sint Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) as one of the world’s most interesting airports (because of the runway proximity to a public beach), another airport is getting attention for a very similar reason.

On the British possession of Gibraltar, flyers are paying very close attention to cross traffic at the airport. That’s because the main runway at Gibraltar International Airport (GIB) shares the same space as the major road connecting Gibraltar to Spain. Drivers traveling on Winston Churchill Avenue must drive over the airport runway in order to cross the border between Gibraltar and Spain.

What happens when an airplane has to take off or land? According to The Huffington Post, road traffic is shut down for about ten minutes when an aircraft arrives or departs at the airport. According to statistics provided by GIB, around ten aircraft movements are made daily – meaning the road is closed for over an hour every day.

Flyers interested in visiting this southern European destination (or just crossing the highway) can book their tickets on three European airlines. British Airways (BA), EasyJet (U2) and Monarch Airlines (ZB) all operate flights to GIB from three UK cities: London, Manchester, and Birmingham. Between the airlines, over 20 flights cross the highway weekly and land at the airport.

However, time may be limited to experience the drive across the runway. An tunnel underneath the runway was expected to be completed in 2009, but disputes with contractors delayed the project for years. According to Sur in English, the tunnel project has since restarted, and could be completed as soon as 2016.

[Photo: iStock]

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Freebird December 3, 2014

Used to live there and had to cross that runway on foot up to 4 times a day. Traffic for pedestrians shuts down first and is way more than 10 minutes. There were days with a dozen plane movements or more. This was compounded by the queues in summer going to and from work for those of us who lived on the Spanish side and the suspicious eyes of the guards seizing you up for smuggling (Gib is a paradise for alcoholics and chain smokers that drive). Add to this 40% tax on every pound earned above 15K while millionaires are only taxed on first 55K of *worldwide income* and have a 0 day stay requirement for residency. Was glad to leave in the end.