Highlands & Islands

Barra's beach airport 80 years old

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Media captionThe airport regularly features on lists of the world's most scenic airports

The Isle of Barra's world famous beach airport is 80 years old.

The first planes landed on the sand in the wide bay of Traigh Mhor in June 1936. It was officially licensed as an airport in August that year.

Today, it is one of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd's busiest sites and regularly features on lists of the world's most scenic airports.

Flights to and from Barra are dictated by the tide and its three runways are fully submerged at high tide.

Image copyright Stuart Nicol
Image caption The airport has three runways, but the use of them is dependent on the tide being out

Small planes, specially designed to be able to land on the beach, fly between the island and Glasgow on a lifeline service subsidised by the Scottish government.

Last year, Canadian company Viking Air Limited won the contract to provide two new 19-seater Twin Otter DHC6-400 aircraft to fly on the route.

According to Hial, the route involves more than 10,000 passengers a year.

There are also about 60 private light aircraft flights to Barra per year.

Image copyright Thinkstock

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