We look into many things when planning a trip, the flights, the stay, etc. Even the nitty-gritty bits like what’s available at the airport. But we never look into the significance of the airport. With this list of the most dangerous airports in the world, the idea of an adventure begins at the airport itself. From iced runways to table-top landing at one of these most dangerous airports will have you saying more prayers than when on a roller coaster!
Lukla Airport (LUA), Nepal
Located in Khumbu, Solukhumbu district in Nepal is rated as the most dangerous airport in the world for over 20 years. People visiting Mount Everest frequently use this airport which is at an altitude of 8,000 feet (2,438 meters). The landing and take-off strips are very short, and the airport has very little electricity with virtually no modern air traffic control features. The landing is difficult, as the pilot has to navigate through the hilly region in harsh winds of decreasing visibility.
Courchevel Airport (CVF), France
It has the shortest runways in the world with just 537 meters. The airport is for people who want to ski in the Alps and hence is located amidst mountains. In addition to navigating these mountains, pilots also need to land the plane at sharp angles for the aircraft to slow down.
Toncontin International Airport (TGU), Honduras
Toncontín International Airport is a civil and military airport and is located 6 km from the center of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This dangerous airport was added to the History Channel’s list of most dangerous airports in the show “Most Extreme Airports”. Since the airport is situated in a mountainous region, the pilot has to make certain arrangements to avoid hitting the mountains. The runway is also extremely short and causes the plane to stop abruptly.
Barra International Airport (BRR), Scotland
Also known as Barra Eoligarry Airport, the Barra International Airport is situated in Scotland at the northernmost tip of the Barra Island at the bay of Traigh Mhòr. With a short runway, this uniquely dangerous airport also uses the beach as its runway and is undoubtedly the only airport in the world to do so.
Agatti Aerodrome (AGX), Lakshadweep, India
Agatti Airport is located in the union territory of Lakshadweep in India, on the southern end of Agatti Island. It is the sole airport in Lakshadweep serving 36 local Indian tourist islands of which, Agatti Aerodrome is a just 4,000 feet long strip of land in the blue waters, making it a risky area to land and take off.
Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong
Kai Tak is one of the scariest airports with perilous landings and take-offs due to the crisscross winds blowing constantly. The fact that the airport is surrounded by a hilly region makes it even scarier and also a deserving spot in the list of most dangerous airports in the world!
Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), Saint Martin
The Princess Juliana International Airport is the main airport on the Caribbean Island of Saint Martin. This is one of the busiest airports as well. Before landing, the planes fly over a beach and some roads, barely out of reach from the ground. A regular to a large-sized plane requires a minimum of 8000 feet of a landing strip whereas this airport has only 7000, making it one of the most dangerous airports in the world.
Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), Thailand
It is one of two international airports serving Bangkok. This airport is situated between two golf courses, making it yet another dangerous airport.
Congonhas Airport (CGH), Brazil
Congonhas Airport is the second busiest airport in Brazil. What makes the airport dangerous is the slippery runway that has caused several accidents. However, new runways with grooves to collect excess rainwater are being built.
Wellington International Airport (WLG), New Zealand
Located in the suburb of Rongotai in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, Its runway is only 6,351 feet, and its pathway seems to start and end in the water bodies. The pilot needs to be precise in knowing at the landing and take-off point to avoid the surrounding water bodies.
Kansai International Airport (KIX), Japan
The airport is located on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay, 38 km from Osaka Station, Japan. This airport is built on an artificial island, which is 4 km in length and 2.5 km wide because the land is scarce and overpriced in the country. The island exposes the airport to many hazards, like earthquakes and cyclones. It is said that in the next four to five decades, sea levels are expected to rise due to global warming, which would cause the airport to submerge in the ocean water.
Gibraltar International Airport (GIB), Gibraltar
Also known as the North Front Airport, it is the civilian airport serving the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The runway of this airport passes through Winston Churchill Avenue, the busiest road on the island leading to the Spanish border. The vehicles have to stop every time a plane takes off. There are barriers and signals to control the movement of the vehicles on the road.
Ice Runway (NZIR), Antarctica
Ice Runway, Antarctica is the main runway for the US Antarctic Program. The runway is capable of handling medium and large-sized flights. There is no real runway and the flights land on manicured snow and ice. The flights are to land gently to make sure no cracks in the paved road are formed to avoid any accidents.
Svalbard Airport (LYR), Norway
It is the main airport serving Svalbard in Norway. Located 1.6 nautical miles (3 km) northwest of Longyearbyen, it is the northernmost airport in the world with public scheduled flights. Runways are directly built on thick permanent ice. The seasonal melting of ice requires consistent repairs and maintenance of the airport. A study shows that the phenomenon of global warming will soon lead to a serious distortion of the track, and in the future, it will have to be shut down.
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB), Saba
Named after their minister, Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is an airport on the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba. This airport has one of the shortest commercial runways in the world with only 400 meters of runaway surroundings by the hills on one side and the ocean on the other. The island is truly a paradise for tourists and travelers, and they often risk their lives to get here.
Madeira Airport, Portugal
Located off-coast of the Portuguese sea is a small island of Madeira. In 2017, the airport was rebranded and renamed Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport in honor of the legendary football player born on this island. Relatively a small-sized runway, this area was built to meet common needs by using pillars. The harsh weather conditions on the island make landing and takeoff very dangerous.