In a Greek island, an A320 blasted a child ten meters away, during take off. It was with his family outside the airport (Greek src).

I wonder what are the regulations, if any, for how much people are allowed to approach the airport (I intended to say runway, but some people might not be able to identify it).

I don't expect from a common person to be aware of the dangers that occur at these situations. The airport should protect them, that's why I ask, if there are any regulations that define the min. allowed distance of people outside the airport?

If yes, it would make sense for the airport to have it's fence at that distant, not any closer.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Related: Is there a minimum distance between a runway and a public road? $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Aug 22, 2018 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @fooot thank you for the link! Jet engines can be very dangerous. In the old airport of Greece, when testing an engine of a 742 at takeoff power, a police car at 300-400 was caught in the wave, the car overturned many times, and the officers were killed. Or, the other luggage ground stuff, who walked in 5m distance in front of an idle engine of a triple seven, and got sucked! $\endgroup$
    – gsamaras
    Aug 23, 2018 at 9:10

2 Answers 2


Most airports are intentionally built away from other areas because of practical problems like noise and potential structures getting in the way. There's also the rather significant requirements to build a runway itself (long, relatively flat and level). But there doesn't seem to be any hard minimum safety distances. It seems to be left up to the airport itself to determine safe distances.

One of the best examples I can think of (with limited clearance around the airport) is Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten. The runway approach passes directly over Maho Beach, a road, and then you have a 7000ft runway (the largest flat spot the island can muster). In the picture below, the fence marks the end of the airport.

Maho Beach

It produces some spectacular videos of planes passing less than 100ft over the beach and people watching on the beach are impacted by the blast of jets, who must stop at the end and bring their engines up to speed before starting their roll.

The incident mentioned happened at Skiathos Airport, which is also an island airport with limited land for a runway (shorter than St. Maarten at 5300ft).

So it seems to be that if you have a long, flat, and relatively level spot to build a runway, there's nothing to prevent you from building an airport there.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The spectacular videos look like 10–20 ft, but that's mostly because it is actually pretty hard to judge from them. Normal approach is 50 ft over the threshold and there is still a couple hundred feet between the fence and the threshold marking, so it would be at least 50 ft even if the plane is coming a bit too low. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Aug 24, 2018 at 21:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Most of the airliners landing on Rwy 10 at TNCM are 50-60 ft AGL passing over the threshold. It’s also not all fun and games as a Dutch tourist recently was killed out there riding the fence like that. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2018 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec Corrected the height. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – Machavity
    Aug 24, 2018 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ So David Richerby, Dan Hulme, BowlOfRed, Ralph J, jklingler, Machavity: how does that answer the question any more than my deleted reply? $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Aug 24, 2018 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads Make a meta post please. Will be happy to reply there $\endgroup$
    – Machavity
    Aug 24, 2018 at 22:46

From the article:

A serious accident occurred at noon in Skiathos, as a 12-year-old child was injured by the airborne aircraft taking off.

The child, together with their parents, watched from a short distance the take-off of a TUI Airbus 320 to London.

However, the power of the gases from the engines of the airplane expelled the 12-year-old at a distance of more than 10 meters.

The unfortunate child was initially transferred to the health center of Skiathos and then to the Achilopouleio hospital of Volos.

According to the doctors, the 12-year-old is at no risk.

It does seem like there ought to be at least a sign near the end(s) of the runway. There are plenty of videos of the airport at St Martin where folks get sandblasted by the blast of engines of the airliners. I believe they have a warning sign. Even a lowly Cessna/Piper/etc with 180HP engine can kick up quite a wind.

There are no regulations on the distance from the end of runway/runoff areas to nearby roadways.

  • $\begingroup$ So, is there any regulation that states the distance that this sign should be placed? $\endgroup$
    – gsamaras
    Aug 22, 2018 at 19:13
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This doesn't answer the question at all. It's mostly just a translation of the article linked in the question, which should be edited into the question, not posted as an answer. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2018 at 13:41

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