Skiathos Airport, The “Saint Martin” of Greece

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You may have heard about Princess Juliana Airport in Saint Martin and its dangerous approach over Maho beach, that has made the airport a favorite among spotters worldwide. Apparently, the airport at Saint Martin is not unique.

The Skiathos Airport on the Greek island of Skiathos is also short and narrow. Because land was short, it was created by reclaiming land from the sea between Skiathos island and the smaller island of Lazareta effectively joining the two islands into one larger island. Even then, the runway is just over a mile long allowing aircraft only up to the size of a Boeing 757-200 to land. Airplanes approach the runway from the west over a coastal road just outside the airport boundary. Due to this, it is a very popular runway to watch flights landing and taking off at close quarters. Skiathos has often been dubbed "the Greek Saint Martin".

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Landing an airplane at Skiathos is difficult and thus require experienced pilpots who have undergone additional training for operations there. Additionally, the runway down-slope leading to an illusion of a shorter runway as the southern end cannot be seen when close to the ground. Landings may only be performed by captains, so if a captain takes ill on an inbound flight, it is diverted to the nearby Nea Anchialos airport.

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