World Wise

The Ap­proach with a View

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Ross Atkin­son

Scenic Air­port Ap­proaches – The ap­proach with a view

In our trav­els around the globe, we of­ten look out the air­plane win­dow from our van­tage point 35,000 feet up, and gaze down in won­der on oceans of clouds, vast ex­panses of forests and plains, or sun­rises and sun­sets over the hori­zon. But do we con­sider those few min­utes as we make our de­scent when our ap­proach is a breath­tak­ing view that can be equally awe-in­spir­ing? By co­in­ci­dence, in the De­cem­ber is­sue of Busi­ness Trav­eler, our World Wise col­umn talked about new busi­ness mod­els for travel, in­clud­ing Pri­vateFly – which gives jet set­ters easy and cost ef­fec­tive ac­cess to more than 7,000 pri­vate jets around the world. Each year, Pri­vateFly runs a poll that asks trav­el­ers which of the thou­sands of air­ports world­wide is their fa­vorite ap­proach.

As part of Busi­ness Trav­eler, I was honored with an in­vi­ta­tion to join the es­teemed panel which de­vel­oped the short list of can­di­dates for the 2016“Most Scenic Air­port Ap­proaches.”I was in some elite com­pany, among in­di­vid­u­als who cover the globe each year rack­ing up some se­ri­ous miles. One panel mem­ber in par­tic­u­lar is one of the world’s most-trav­eled peo­ple, just six coun­tries away of be­com­ing – at age 36 – the youngest per­son to visit all 324 coun­tries and unique des­ti­na­tions on the Trav­el­ers Cen­tury Club list.

This past fall, the panel of 23 came up with a short list of air­ports that cir­cled the globe, cov­er­ing beach run­ways, moun­tain-top land­ings and air­ports ap­proaches framed by stun­ning city sky­lines.

With the vot­ing wrap­ping up dur­ing the month of March, I thought I would share with you just three of my fa­vorite en­tries on the 2016 short list.

In line with this month’s fea­tured busi­ness desti­na­tion, my first pick is the Bo­gotá, Columbia, El Do­rado In­ter­na­tional Air­port (BOG).Your view out the win­dow is of a sprawl­ing city 8,300 feet above sea level, with pop­u­la­tion of over six mil­lion and dom­i­nated by build­ings in red hues set against the lush green moun­tain back­drop of the An­des.

As you climb away from BOG’s run­way, in the dis­tance is the 350-year-old church and shrine of Mount Mon­ser­rate. Don’t stop look­ing as you de­part. Just out­side of Bo­gotá you can also spot the uniquely col­ored Lake Gu­atavita and the huge Em­balse Tom­iné reser­voir nes­tled among the moun­tains.

An­other in­trigu­ing ap­proach takes us into Panama City’s Toc­u­men In­ter­na­tional Air­port (PTY). The sparkling blue wa­ters of the Pa­cific Ocean are of­ten dot­ted with count­less ships in calmly wait­ing in queue to carry their com­merce through the Canal for the cross­ing to the At­lantic.

On the hori­zon, sweep­ing views of the city’s sea­side sky­line against a back­drop of moun­tains will as­ton­ish new­com­ers and fre­quent vis­i­tors alike. The re­flec­tion of the sky­scrapers in the trop­i­cal blue wa­ters against the plush greens of the moun­tains creates a pic­ture-per­fect set­ting.

Of course, I am slightly bi­ased, given that my‘home’air­port is Wash­ing­ton, DC’s, Rea­gan Na­tional Air­port (DCA). On the ap­proach to this close-in air­port, there’s not a bad seat on the plane. The mighty sym­bols of democ­racy are spread out below in a sin­gle sight­ing – from the Pen­tagon and across the Po­tomac to the Jef­fer­son Me­mo­rial, Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment, the re­flect­ing pool and the Capi­tol dome.

Over 21 mil­lion pas­sen­gers pass through DCA, many fol­low­ing the‘River Vis­ual’ap­proach over the Key Bridge, Theodore Roo­sevelt Bridge, Ar­ling­ton Me­mo­rial Bridge, and the Ge­orge Ma­son Me­mo­rial Bridge. It’s an awe-in­spir­ing vista on both ar­rival and take off from the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

So there you have it; three of my per­sonal fa­vorites. I hope th­ese have given you a taste of the many to come. In an up­com­ing is­sue of Busi­ness Trav­eler, we’ll fea­ture more from 2016’s“Most Scenic Air­port Ap­proaches,”both those that topped the poll, as well as some which made short list but didn’t cap­ture the eye of vot­ers.

Un­til then, stay tuned and safe land­ings. BT

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