The runway of Gibraltar Airport crosses an active 4 lane highway airliner crossing 4-lane highway

Example Video.

My question is are there any security measures which prevent normal traffic from entering the airport through the runway when the runway is not in use? How much security risk does such a runway intersecting with a civilian road entail?

Edit: To make the situation more realistic, assume that some very hostile elements are heading towards the airport, and maybe they need only 5 minutes to throw a grenade at an aircraft, or open fire or cause some other similar destruction. I am specifically looking at how fast would the response of airport security at Gibraltar Airport would be in such a situation, especially given that it's a small airport with only around 15 departures a day. And simply if there are any measures to prevent normal traffic from entering the airport boundary in the first place?

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    $\begingroup$ Grenade or gunfire are probably even more than you need. If a terrorist didn't care about surviving, I imagine they could just drive a big truck in front through those gates and stop it right in front of the plane, once the plane is going fast enough that it can't stop. I don't know whether the intersection is late enough that the plane could just take off earlier to miss the truck. $\endgroup$
    – yshavit
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ But you could do this at most any airport. For instance, at the FBO we tie down at (medium-sized commercial airport), access is controlled by a chain-link gate. If you didn't care about scratching your vehicle, you could drive through it quite easily. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ Your question is written with 4 different questions all mixed in. The title asks if it is possible to drive "into" the runway. The photo and video you posted obviously shows vehicle and pedestrian traffic "on" the runway. So, the question is self-answered. Next, you ask what security measures are in place to prevent this traffic from going to the airport. (I assume you mean the aircraft parking area of the airport?). Next you ask for a quantified "risk level". And, finally, you ask what the response would be to a given threat. I suggest you edit to clarify what you want to know. $\endgroup$
    – Jimmy
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ It’s apparently not all that difficult to drive onto a US Navy base and crash into an F-18. Neither the navy personnel nor the police stopped them, but they did not survive the encounter with a parked jet. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 3:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Jimmy thanks for pointing out! I feel that the accepted answer has roughly everything that I wanted to know, and thus maybe an edit is not required. $\endgroup$
    – anshabhi
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


There are no physical restraints to entering the runway when the road is open.

You can see from this video of the crossing that Gibraltar police and the base for the Royal Air Force are present. The runway is owned by the Ministry of Defence. Anyone attempting to drive on the runway will probably be intercepted in seconds, although I am not aware of any reported attempts.

They also have a street sweeper to take care of FOD (foreign object debris).1

There are plans to build a new four-lane diversion road and tunnel section. Construction started in 2008 but it still hasn't been completed as of 2018. The crossing across the runway will be kept for exceptional, specific, or emergency use but pedestrians will still be able to use the crossing.

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