Flying is without a doubt a breathtaking experience. You get to fly across the clear sky and explore the vast world through fluffy clouds. Only the idea of traveling to mysterious places gives us itchy feet. Besides, we’ve all seen the statistics. Air travel is 100 times safer than any other form of transportation, including traveling by car or train. As you weigh the pros and cons of flying, just think about some other parts of the world. We may be reaping the benefits of modern engineering, but what about the rest of the world? The marvels of advanced engineering allowed us to build airplanes in places where we shouldn’t have. Indeed, this perfectly outlines our topic today. As you’ll see in a bit, the geographic locations of these airports are quite specific. By this, we mean that it’ll take a highly proficient pilot to land on these risky runways. Let’s take Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport as an example. Its runway is not only extra short but it ends with a cliff. If you think that this is nuts, wait until we get to the most perilous airports. Now buckle up and enjoy your ride through 15 of the riskiest airports across the world.
15. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport
Flying is supposed to be the quickest and safest way of traveling. Well, it may be the quickest, but is it the safest? As you think about it, there are two types of travellers on an airplane. Some just loathe flying while the other half is terrified by landing. Frankly, both types have got a point. For example, Juancho Airport sits on a gorgeous island and offers the shortest runway. As you can imagine, this makes it pretty hard to land an airplane. In a nutshell, the airport is hugged by mountain slopes and cliffs dropping into the sea. Oh, let’s not forget that Juancho is flanked by water on either side too. Well, this sure makes a marvellous view to die for. Literally.
14. Princess Juliana International Airport
Next on our curious list of treacherous airports is Princess Juliana International Airport. Also known as Sint Maarten International Airport, Princess Julianna is considered extremely dangerous because of its specific location. The airport runway starts where the beach ends and is known to have knocked tourists into the water. It’s one of the few runways that’s located so close to a beach. It’s even said that beach-goers purposely cling to the fences to watch the passing airplanes.
13. Congonhas Airport
Often referred to as Sao Paulo Airport, Congonhas’ slippery runway caused countless accidents in the past. Congonhas Airport services Sao Paulo’s inhabitants who had no clue how treacherous this runway is. If you add in the heavy rain in Sao Paulo, the situation gets twice as bad. The city of Sao Paulo tried to fix the issue by building grooves to keep the rainwater from running all over. Sadly, it didn’t seem to be an efficient method at all. Eventually, Congonhas Airport had to cut down its incoming flights as a safety precaution.
12. Gibraltar Airport
Another perilous airport that’s gained a pretty bad reputation is Gibraltar Airport. Also known as North Front Airport, it cuts directly through the city of Gibraltar. In fact, the airport is located about 500 meters away from the city. Can you believe it? If you think that this is crazy, wait until we get to the end of the story. The riskiest section of the runway comes with the busiest avenue in the city of Gibraltar. Winston Churchill Avenue is one of the most crowded avenues which intersects a certain stretch of the runway. Now you can see why you should cross Gibraltar Airport off your list of top airports. It’s just way too dangerous.
11. Gustaf III Airport
Much like Juliana Airport, which practically starts off the local beach, Gustaf III runs along a steep slope before it ends right on the beach. This instantly makes you think how could such a project was ever given approved. Who was in charge of it and why is it a working airport? Airplanes just fly over pedestrians while descending super low due to the hilltops. Just imagine how hard it must be for the pilot to maneuver the airplane. It’s totally nuts! Gustaf III Airport should be off-limits to the public. In fact, it should be closed for good.
10. Tenzing-Hillary Airport
Finally, we’ve reached the most curious airport of them all. Tenzing-Hillary Airport is located in Lukla, Nepal and honors two daredevils, Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. They were the first climbers who reached the summit of Mt. Everest. Outside of this, the Tenzing-Hillary Airport has nothing in common with the typical concept of an airport. This airport is built in a region that’s known for its high winds and low visibility. As you can imagine, these factors alone can affect the maneuverability of an aircraft to a great extent.
9. Paro Airport
Located in Bhutan, Paro Airport is literally boxed in between Himalayan mountain slopes. Sitting at 18,000 feet, Paro Airport guarantees one hell of a landing. Seriously, this airport is practically a death wish. It features a really tiny runway sandwiched between hillsides on either side. In fact, there aren’t many pilots who are allowed to land at Paro Airport. Pilots practically have to fly between hillsides before landing on this super tiny runway. It turns out that Paro Airport is saved only for the most proficient pilots. For that purpose alone, Paro Airport gets a top spot on our scary list today.
8. Madeira International Airport
Located nearby Funchal, Portugal, Madeira International Airport became famous for a couple of reasons. Madeira’s runway is only 1,600 meters in length which instantly makes it a dangerous place for taking off or landing. After the spine-chilling airline accident in 1977, Madeira Airport was scheduled for lengthening. At that time, the authorities missed out on a few major details. Madeira Airport was flanked by mountain slopes on each side so the plan went south. Well, the dirty job was eventually performed by a Brazilian company that put pillars to support the runway extension. Although it made the runway a bit longer, it still is one of the most dangerous airports in the world.
7. Courchevel Airport
Another nightmarish airport rests at the heart of the French Alps. The infamous Courchevel Airport is named after its famous ski resort sitting at 6,800 ft above sea level. Its high elevation and incredibly short runway make it a pretty risky airport for landing. Besides, its runway gets extremely slippery in winter. So you can only imagine how bad it gets when it’s snowing for days. Thanks to its difficult approach, Courchevel Airport gets a top position on our list today. Indeed, it’s one of the worst airports for landing.
6. Svalbard Airport, Longyear
Much like the French airport, Svalbard Airport is also set high up in the mountains of Norway. The ill-famed airport serves the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. It’s believed that the construction of this airport was extremely difficult. The geographic location of this region made it pretty hard to complete the project. Also, the structural work of Svalbard Airport included gigantic pillars of ice to support the construction. All in all, the airport was considered safe until the spine-chilling airplane accident in 1996. It’s still known as the deadliest airplane crash in Norway.
5. Don Mueang International Airport
Don Mueang International Airport is one of the most famous airports in Bangkok, Thailand. As you look at it, you may think that there’s nothing special about it. Honestly, you’ll be right to a certain extent. But if you look closer, you’ll probably notice a golf course that sits between two of Don Mueang’s runways. Just imagine the airplane taking off from the runway and flying over golf players. Another scary thought is that there have already been reported airplane crashes. Obviously, there’s something wrong with the construction of this airport.
4. Toncontin International Airport, Honduras
If we say that Toncontin Airport is not for fainthearted passengers, we’d be right. Toncontin is designed for highly experienced pilots who’re not afraid of flying across densely populated areas. It’s true that this region is like the ultimate test for pilots. They must cope with strong winds while flying over mountain slopes. It’s said that this particular runway is quite short so pilots need to think fast when descending. In a nutshell, it seems like Toncontin International Airport isn’t for fainthearted pilots or passengers.
3. Qamdo Bamda Airport, Tibet
Qamdo Bamda Airport is considered one of the highest airports in the world. This means that the thin air is very likely to affect the work of the engines. Yes, it’s a scary thought that can lead to catastrophic results in no time. Besides, many people feel extra dizzy when landing at such high airport runways. It turns out that this airport is not only dangerous, but it can make you feel extremely dizzy and sick. So if you ask us, you’d better pick another destination for your next trip. There’s just no need to put yourself at such a grave risk.
2. Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland
Narsarsuaq Airport is referred to as one of the most dangerous airports in the world. It’s located in Greenland which makes it twice as hard to reach. Another scary fact is that there’s an active volcano in this region. So just imagine what would happen when the volcano erupts, as it did a few years back. The eruption forms ash clouds which could be infused with particles of silica from the melting snow. These small particles of glass, formed from the melting snow, can damage the engine of the aircraft. Indeed, this airport in Greenland is definitely a death wish.
1. Ice Runway
Known as the Ice Runway, this airport serves the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. It’s exactly this runway that engineers often refer to as a death trap. The reason why this airport runway is so risky is that it’s entirely made of ice. Another curious fact about Ice Runway is that it once handled a Boeing 757. According to engineers, the ice runway may collapse and the wheels of the aircraft could submerge into the ice. Well, it’s only a theory so let’s hope it never becomes a reality.
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