Skip to main content

View from the cockpit: The most beautiful airport approaches

31.5.2016 at 06:00
An ex-pilot with 30 years of experience shares his view of the most scenic airports to land.

Timo ”Timppa” Numminen is a real seasoned specialist of the skies. Since 1977 the ex-Finnair pilot has managed to clock over 15 000 flight hours all over the world. His last work trips were in 2007, though even in retirement he has continued to run trainings for Finnair staff.

“Being a pilot is the finest profession in the world. You get the chance to travel the world and realize that all these places are part of the same planet. At the same time you get to enjoy the world’s most scenic office space,” Numminen explains.

During his three decade-long career, international airports became very familiar to Numminen. He says that for professional pilots, none are easier or harder to land, but some of them did make a lasting impression on him because of their beautiful scenery. So here is the captain’s list of the most striking airports:

Tocumen, Panama

“It is always a fine experience landing in Panama because you get to fly over two different oceans. First you cross the Atlantic, passing the peninsula over the Panama Canal and then make a turn over the Pacific, before landing at Tocumen. Oh boy!”

PDL, Azores Islands, Portugal

“Finnair used to have a direct flight connection to the Azores so I became very familiar with these beautiful islands. The beauty of the scenery made an impression on me: a charming, hilly and evergreen group of islands.”

Pearson, Toronto, Canada

“The route from Helsinki to Toronto crosses Greenland’s beautiful glaciers and the uninhabited terrains of North Canada: views you can never tire of. Landing in Toronto, which is right next to a great lake, is also a breathtaking experience.”

Rovaniemi Airport, Finland

“In Finland we also have exceptionally charming airports: for instance, the lakeside airports of Savonlinna and Kuopio.

One of the most memorable moments of my career was flying to Rovaniemi, in Northern Finland, during one of the ‘nightless nights’ of the summer.

It was around 2 am, but a lovely evening sunset was lighting up the sky, the rays shining right into the crew’s eyes in the cockpit. The captain of the plane, Markku Bremer, turned to me and said, ‘And this is what they pay us for – with extra pay for night work.’”

Read also stories behind finnairtomi's Instagram pictures.

See how Helsinki Airport looks like in four years.


People & Aviation