Al Marsh

Pedestrians share Gibraltar runway

June 29, 2009 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

Even when the new tunnel under the Gibraltar runway is completed, pedestrians and emergency vehicles will continue to stop air traffic and use Winston Churchill Avenue above ground to cross it. In the past it could take 10 minutes to clear people and traffic off the runway so an aircraft could land. The tunnel will be an improvement. This shot was taken by world traveler Robert Gannon after landing in his Cessna 182, and those tiny dots on the runway are traffic and people. The Gibraltar Airport is 1,600 feet from the city, the shortest commute of any major airport in the world. CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

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9 Responses to “Pedestrians share Gibraltar runway”

  1. Chuck Says:

    I had the opportunity to see this first hand in 2006 when my ship pulled into Gibraltar for a 3 day port visit. It was, to say the least, an interesting experience to make that drive across the runway. The folks there act like it’s no big deal, I guess that just goes to show that a person can used to just about anything.

  2. Dale Draper Says:

    Just be glad that the crooks who killed Meigs Field Chicago
    aren’t in power here

  3. Julien Suttle Says:

    I have visited Gibraltar a number of times from Spain and am always surprised at the casualness of the walkers crossing the runway when aircraft are in the traffic pattern and on the runway.It’s a whole different world there!!!! Sutt

  4. Alan Pace Says:

    Gibralter remains part of the UK & every time someone suggests that Spain take over, the locals reject it, opting to remain British citizens. The old saying goes something like ‘when the Barbary Apes (the only monkeys in Europe) leave the Rock (ie. Gibralter), the Brits will relinquish hold of this crucial stategic lookout overseeing the entrance to the Mediterranian Sea’. The airport doubles as an airbase especially for RAF Maratime Reconissance Flights etc..

  5. Sheldon Says:

    It might be true it takes a few minutes to clear the runway of pedestrians and vehicle traffic, bear in mind any aircraft landing at Gibraltar is going to be in contact with tower/approach with enough notice to clear the runway. There isn’t casual traffic landing at Gibraltar for an aircraft to be a complete surprise to the tower folks.

    Every time I was on Gibraltar (2006-2008), yes, the runway crossing was quite casual, but I never thought there were aircraft circling the rock waiting for the pedestrian traffic to clear. The airport authority seemed to have their act together when it was time for an aircraft to take off or land, blocking entry to the crossing area when necessary.

    We always stayed in La Linea and walked onto Gibraltar as it was cheaper to stay in Spain than pay the higher lodging prices on the Rock.

  6. Dennis McDaniel Says:

    I walked across that runway a couple of times this past winter and what people may not realize is just how little traffic there is there now compared to years ago. Once upon a time (1950s, maybe later) there was an RAF Hunter sqdn there and a number of airlines (with recips) but now the military is virtually gone and there is only one incoming and one outbound commercial flight a day to London. This winter the entire aircraft presence on the field was one single-engine recip with no propellor mounted.

  7. Totila Grandbergs Says:

    That is pretty impressive, but Congonhas in Sao Paulo, Brazil is a little closer to town. In fact, it is in town. As you arrive at the terminal by car, chances are that you will drive under the wing of an aircraft that is above you on the ramp or the taxiway. The first few times one lands there tend to be very dramatic.

  8. Chris Parker Says:

    I landed there a couple of times in the 80s in a Harrier, and it wasn’t easy.

    Firstly, because to get to Gibraltar from anywhere in a Harrier meant using external 330 gallon fuel tanks, and that meant landing at 140kt or so instead of the 0kt we were used to!

    Secondly, the Spanish were (are) very protective of their airspace and it’s very easy to infringe it on the finals turn, especially to the Easterly runway,

    I don’t expect much has changed…

  9. Kurt Larsen Says:

    After sailing from Falmouth, England … my father and I took a slip at one of the marinas adjacent to the runway. It was a thrill to watch commercial and military jets land and take off. We always knew a plane was about to arrive or depart when the “bird chaser” truck would speed up and down the runway … blasting its horn and siren. Of course, the several walks across the runway, through Customs, and into La Linea for cervezas was fun too! Never did it seem a problem.

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