Video captures dramatic Wizz Air landing at Skiathos Airport

The aircraft is seen flying low over the sea and spectators' heads, before touching down on the runway

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A Wizz Air plane has been filmed flying uncomfortably close to a crowd of onlookers on the Greek island of Skiathos.

In footage filmed by pilot Demetrios Gregoriou, the aircraft is seen flying just above the sea before coming to land at Skiathos Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport. Its wings appear to almost graze the heads of a group of tourists at the airport perimeter, seconds before it touches down.

The flight originated in Naples and headed to Skiathos, which sits in the north-west Aegean Sea in the heart of the Sporades archipelago, on August 5.

While the scene looks dramatic, it is not unusual. Skiathos’s airport has a shorter-than-usual runway, measuring only 1,628 metres, which is about half the size of many traditional runways.

This means pilots are required to approach the airport at a much lower altitude than normal, in order to maximise the space they have. Because of this, and the location of the runway adjacent to a picturesque beach and public road, the airport regularly attracts plane spotters hoping to catch a glimpse of the spectacle.

Despite signage and constant warnings from the authorities requesting people give the area a wide berth, tourists regularly try to get as close as possible to snap pictures or take videos of enormous aircraft passing mere metres away.

The shorter runway can also sometimes result in hard landings when larger aircraft touch down, so visitors to the island should know to brace themselves for a bit of a bumpy experience.

The length of the runway also means aircraft taking off often have to stop to refuel at larger airports nearby before continuing on with their journey, since take-off with such a short runway can be challenging with the weight of a full fuel tank, in addition to a planeload of tourists and their luggage.

The island airport is often likened to Princess Juliana International Airport on the island of Saint Maarten in the Caribbean. The runway there is 2,300 metres in length and also flanked by the sea, so has starred in its own fair share of breathtaking footage.

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Updated: August 16, 2022, 9:50 AM
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