Seven Iconic Runways Accessible by XOJET
While smaller airports are ultimately built for convenience, there’s a certain romance to them that adds to the charm of flying private. Exclusive in nature yet simple by design, all that matters is your flight, your jet, and the seamless access to wherever it is you are headed with XOJET.
“There is a real lost-in-time feel to these small airports,” says Brad Stewart, XOJET’s President and CEO. “In Napa Valley you look down at a narrow runway cut into a hilltop—so simple, and to me truly beautiful. These remote places are part of what makes private aviation special.”
In that spirit, below are some of our favorite runways that epitomize the beauty of private air travel. All are accessible to XOJET clients, whether through our own fleet—often bound for U.S. airports—or larger jets like the Bombardier Global 5000 and Gulfstream G650 within our Preferred Partner Network. Meeting industry-leading safety standards, our long-range partner jets open this list to several international destinations with scenery simply too iconic to overlook.
Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, Colorado (ASE)
Roughly 200 miles from the nearest major airport in Denver, Aspen-Pitkin County Airport’s convenience factor is only outdone by its magnificent setting some 8,000 feet above sea level in Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains. Snow-capped, summer green, or speckled with fall foliage, its bowl-like surroundings allow private jets to fly in from the west and descend roughly 2,400 feet in one minute before touching down in the heart of one of the world’s most iconic mountain resorts.
What’s Nearby: Rich in both nature and glamour, Aspen is Colorado’s quintessential luxury retreat. Experience world-class ski terrain at Aspen or Snowmass, hike or bike in the White River National Forest, and indulge in five-star hotels like The Little Nell or St. Regis. Aspen Food & Wine, one of the world’s premier culinary festivals, steals the downtown spotlight every year in mid-June.
Grand Canyon National Park Airport, Arizona (GCN)
The descent into Grand Canyon National Park Airport doubles as an aerial tour of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Take in spectacular views of Arizona’s otherworldly red-rock formations, then touch down on a 9,000-foot runway just two miles from the park entrance and seven miles from South Rim, your gateway into all things Grand Canyon.
What’s Nearby: In addition to hotels like The Grand Hotel and the historic El Tovar, experiences like hiking and whitewater rafting are easily accessible from the park’s South Rim. The airport itself is also the starting point for scenic helicopter tours.
Lake Tahoe Airport, California (TVL)
Snow-capped peaks meet deep-blue waters on your descent into California’s alpine escape in the Sierra Nevadas, Lake Tahoe. A single runway, stretching 8,500 feet at an elevation of 6,269 feet, runs perpendicular to the lake itself and brings travelers within a 10-minute drive of South Lake Tahoe.
What’s Nearby: Premier ski resorts like Heavenly and Kirkwood beckon in wintertime, while summer offers an array of beaches, hiking and biking trails, fishing, and more. Stay at The Ritz-Carlton or The Landing Resort & Spa.
Telluride Regional Airport, Colorado (TEX)
Much like its Aspen counterpart, Telluride’s airport saves travelers hours of driving time with a picturesque alpine setting just minutes from your final destination. Fly in above Colorado’s dramatic San Miguel Mountains and touch down on one of America’s highest public airstrips, registered at 9,078 feet in elevation. A 7,000-foot runway, nestled within a spectacular box canyon, boasts majestic alpine scenery all year round.
What’s Nearby: World-class terrain, minus the crowds, makes Telluride one of the world’s most attractive outdoor destinations, be it summer or winter. Stay in esteemed luxury resorts like Auberge Residences at Element 52 or The Madeline.
Nice Côte D’Azur International Airport, France (NCE)
Framed by the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean and backed by the city’s historic architecture, Nice Côte D’Azur International Airport captivates travelers with a 9,700-foot runway set on its own peninsula. Located just above sea level, the airport is positioned between two beautiful pebble beaches, and steps away the waterfront promenade awaits.
What’s Nearby: Blending a luxurious coastal lifestyle with old-world wonder, Nice is the highlight of the Côte D’Azur region with upscale yet authentic retreats like Boscolo Exedra Nice and Hotel Negresco. Spend your days wandering the charming markets, taking in traditional architecture, and exploring Place Rossetti in the heart of the city.
Lihue Airport, Hawaii (LIH)
As you cross the island of Kauai, commonly referred to as the Garden Island, verdant mountains and white-sand beaches give way to two 6,500-foot runways on the southeast coast. The main port of entry for the island, Lihue Airport is incredibly scenic both in the air—you may catch a glimpse of Waimea Canyon on your way in—and from the ground with a largely un-walled, open-air terminal offering views of the lush landscape and the Pacific Ocean.
What’s Nearby: We like The St. Regis Princeville Resort on the northern shore for its exquisite suites and pristine location. From there, you can hike and zipline through tropical rainforests, snorkel Poipu Beach, and unwind in one of the Pacific’s most beautiful locales.
Bangor International Airport, Maine (BGR)
Maine’s quaint city of Bangor, located on the edge of Penobscot River, is home to the first major airport encountered by trans-Atlantic flights (and a common stop for fuel and customs), but the Queen City is also a spectacular historic destination in itself. Fly over the northern Appalachian Mountains when you approach from the west or lush landscapes and coastal waterways from the east, before touching down on a single, 11,440-foot runway at Bangor International Airport.
What’s Nearby: Both a beautiful hiking destination and a focal point of New England history—much of the city is on the National Register of Historic Places—Bangor has much to offer for visitors. (It is also the home of novelist Stephen King.) For close access to the historic district, stay in the quaint Charles Inn.
*Photo courtesy of Dana Moos.