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World's most scenic airport approaches?

Story highlights

  • Poll shortlists most impressive airport landings
  • Views of cities, mountains and islands all figure
  • Sochi -- the Winter Olympics city -- is one topical inclusion

It's at least as welcome as a warm face towel or the ping of the seatbelt sign going off: A beautiful view as you land.

A panel of travel editors, seasoned pilots and other industry experts has drawn up a shortlist of the world's most scenic airport approaches for users of the private-jet charter firm PrivateFly.com to vote on.

Any type of landing was eligible, from the approach over rooftops used by private craft at Amsterdam Schiphol, to the ultra-low, beach-shaving descent on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten and the dip past Manhattan's skyscraper cluster when approaching New York's JFK.

One entry that stands out for topicality on this year's shortlist: Sochi International Airport.

"What a spectacular arrival for the 2014 Winter Olympics," recalls one fan on the site.

"You descend over the Black Sea, watching the city and Olympic Park unfold in front of you, with a beautiful mountain backdrop."

What the shortlist (a selection is shown in the gallery above) reveals is the human ingenuity for building airports almost anywhere, on land or on sea.

Or in the case of Barra Airport, in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, somewhere in between -- the beach runway is submerged at high tide.

Voting in the PrivateFly.com poll closes at the end of March.

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