For the third year in a row, a landing strip on Ireland's rugged northwest coast has been named the most beautiful place to arrive by air.

Donegal airport in Carrickfinn was found to be the world's most scenic landing strip, in a survey of 6000 pilots and aviation fanatics. Voters fell in love with the approach which is on a natural island spit.

"You can see all the islands, beautiful beaches. Errigal and the Rosses on the approach," wrote one aviator on the survey conducted by PrivateFly. Howeer, it was the guaranteed "warm welcome" of the locals when deplaning that clinched it for the coastal airstrip.

Donegal Airport came top of a distinguished list of scenic airports that pilots got off on.


The survey had "submissions from aviation enthusiasts around the world, eager to celebrate the most beautiful aerial views from window seats and flight decks," said PrivateFly CEO Adam Twidell. "With Donegal deemed unbeatable for the third year in a row."

"We're delighted to receive this recognition for the third year," said Steve O'Culain, Chairman of Donegal Airport. "And when they can, we hope more travellers will come and share this beautiful part of the world with us, located in the Gaelic speaking Donegal Gaeltacht on the Wild Atlantic Way. Beidh míle fáilte romhaibh!"

Msembe Airstrip in Tanzania landed in second place, followed by Skiathos in Greece.

The Greek island airport is a popular port of call for pilots. Aviator Alex Tsangaras confirmed, he'd happily "fly to Skiathos every day".

Europe dominated the list for its varied and easily accessible aerial approaches, from the North Atlantic to the Aegean – however the Msembe airstrip flew over the competition with "vistas of the East African Ruaha National Park". Few other places in the world do you have the opportunity to spot African elephants while coming in to land.

However New Zealand was overlooked in the top ten list of prettiest places to be deplaned.

Queenstown's "Remarkable" runway was passed over by aviation enthusiasts for the region's most beautiful. Photo / File

It wasn't until the regional rankings that Queenstown landed some recognition, as the region's third most beautiful airport. Aviators praised its "incredible approach over Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps mountain range."

The airport was edged out of top position in the Australia and Pacific regions' airports list by Bora Bora's Motu Mute airport – which came in sixth overall – and Fiji's Nadi international which rounded off the top ten list of world's prettiest airports.


In the regional rankings Whāngārei Airport also got an honourable mention, landing eighth, after a scenic approach over Ocean Beach and the heads.