Aeroplanes are the safest way of travelling worldwide, but that doesn’t mean it’s not risky. Different airports are built in various locations that are subjected to extreme weather conditions. Also, the structure and the limited places make it dangerous due to the lack of space to have long and perfectly levelled runways, which increases the challenges on the pilot.
Here we are going to see the 10 most dangerous airports in the world.
The Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal, Solukhumbu district, the small town of Lukla, is probably the most remote tourist destination on the planet. It can only be reached by plane from Kathmandu and other nearby airports, Or on foot walking for a couple of days.
The airport is a one-of-a-kind facility that is referred to as an “extreme airport.”
The Tenzing-Hillary Airport sits on the side of a mountain, just 2,860 meters above sea level.
It goes without saying that Lukla is well-known as the starting point for the challenging Mount Everest Base Camp trek, and there are regular flights connecting Kathmandu with Lukla. However, this only occurs during daylight hours and when the weather conditions are favourable for flying.
Given that the airport appears to be charming in photographs, what makes it such a bizarre airport is a mystery. In the years between Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Mount Everest and the opening of the province’s only airport, construction on the airport was already underway.
Its runway is only 1729 feet long with a 12% gradient when an average of 6000 feet is ideal. A short runway limits Tenzing Hillary Airport to light aircraft.
Then there is the runway, which is uneven. All these combine to create a sense of uncertainty regarding the operations of flights here at the airport in the high Himalayas. Strong southwest winds keep this airport closed from mid-morning to late-morning.
This unique airport only accepts flights flown by experienced pilots with at least 100 successful STOL flights. These pilots must also have over a year of STOL experience in Nepal and 10 flights into Lukla with a certified pilot.
Madeira Airport or what is now called Cristiano Ronaldo airport. It is an international airport located in the civil parish of Santa Cruz in the Portuguese archipelago and autonomous region of Madeira. It serves both domestic and international flights.
The airport is one of the most perilous in the world, as well as a surprisingly long runway construction, both of which contribute to its dangerousness. The bridge was honoured in 2004 by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering with the Outstanding Structure Award.
It was long ago notorious for having the shortest runway in the world that was enclosed by mountains and the ocean, making it quite difficult and demanding for even the most experienced pilots to land. Because of the right-hand turn of approximately 150°
The single short runway airport with an extremely windy area makes airlines request that pilots complete additional training before landing at the airport.
Courchevel International Airport
This Altiport in the French Alps serves Courchevel ski resort.
Due to the high inclination and short runway length, this airfield only has a 537-meter runway with a gradient of 18.6%.
The airport is exposed to extreme weather since its located 2,008 meters above sea level.
Because of the surrounding mountainous terrain, there is no go-around procedure when landing at Courchevel.
The airport is considered dangerous due to the difficult approach, the upward-sloping runway, and the proximity of ski runs in the surrounding area.
According to the History Channel’s Most Extreme Airports, it is the world’s seventh most extreme airport, according to the program.
Toncontin International Airport, also known as Teniente Coronel Hernán Acosta Mejia Airport, is a civil and military airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, located 6 kilometres from the city centre.
It’s completely surrounded by mountains meaning pilots can’t easily approach their landing head-on like in normal airports instead, they have to make a quick sharp descend accompanied by a quick and sharp turn.
Inclement weather conditions are the toughest for all aircraft when approaching the airport.
It is ranked as the second most extreme airport in the world in the History Channel’s Most Extreme Airports.
The Honduran government is building a new, safer airport now 50 kilometres away from the city of Tegucigalpa.
Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten
The primary airport on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin is Princess Juliana International Airport. The airport is on the Dutch half of the island, in the country of St. Maarten.
Runway 10/28 is 7,546 ft long and 148 ft wide (2,300 m x 45 m). It was renumbered in late 2008, renumbered from 09/27.
After making an approach following a 3° glide slope, the arriving aircraft lands on the last section of the final approach for Runway 10, next to the famous Maho Beach.
The short distance from Maho Beach to the runway has made the airport a popular plane spotting location, even though it’s near an active runway.
The History Channel program is a good example of this. Princess Juliana Airport is ranked as the fourth-most dangerous airport in the world by the website Most Extreme Airports.
Paro Airport, Himalayan Mountain
Bhutan has four airports; one of them is Paro International Airport, the only international airport in the country. It is located 6 kilometers from Paro in a deep valley on the bank of the Paro Chhu river.
The airport has a single 1,964 m (6,445 ft) asphalt runway and a single terminal building completed in 1999 and is currently in use.
Bhutan’s Paro Airport is located 1.5 miles above sea level and surrounded by jagged peaks that reach 5,500 meters in height.
As dangerous as the landing is, only less than 20 pilots in the world are qualified to make the landing at this location.
Visual meteorological conditions are required for flights to and from Paro, restricted to daylight hours from sunrise to sunset.
It is ranked as the fifth most extreme airport globally in the History Channel’s Most Extreme Airports.
Located in the town of Narsarsuaq in southern Greenland’s Kujalleq municipality, Narsarsuaq Airport is a small airport that serves the community. It is one of just two airports in Greenland that can accommodate big commercial aircraft, the other being Kangerlussuaq Airport.
In addition, it is the only international airport in the southern part of Greenland.
Greenland’s extreme airports are frequently encircled by sheets of ice. This runway, barely 5,900 feet (1,800 meters) in length and covered in smooth ice, presents a significant challenge for pilots.
Additionally, severe weather can generate turbulence and reduced visibility on approach, causing both aircraft crew and passengers to feel uncomfortable.
Wind shears can direct planes off course when the runway is ice.
And on top of that, the volcano located nearby periodically erupts, releasing ash into the air, wreaking havoc on engine performance.
Narsarsuaq Airport is rated the 10th most dangerous airport in the world.
Gibraltar International Airport
British overseas territory Gibraltar is served by Gibraltar International Airport or North Front Airport, both of which are civil airports.
The runway is under the control of the Ministry of Defence for usage by the Royal Air Force, who are the guardians of the Royal Air Force Gibraltar.
Probably the most peculiar airport in southern Europe is Gibraltar International Airport. There is an intriguing element to the runway that makes it potentially unsafe for landing.
When a jet wants to land, the runway coincides with the city’s major thoroughfare, Winston Churchill Avenue, which must be closed for the duration of the landing.
However, there have been several close calls in the history of the airport.
In addition, both ends of the short runway suddenly finish at the sea, forcing pilots to push the plane to stop very quickly after landing.
McMurdo Air Station, Antarctica
The McMurdo Station is an American research facility located on the southern tip of Ross Island in the Ross Dependency, which is part of New Zealand.
Due to the limited number of people who travel to Antarctica, the country’s airport infrastructure is woefully underdeveloped.
Even though this runway isn’t exceptionally short, it is constructed of “white ice” (compacted snow), making landing difficult even in favorable weather.
A C-121 crashed off the runway in 1970 and is still buried in snow off to the side of the runway.
During the winter, the area is completely dark at all times. Because there are no runway lights at the airport, pilots must land using night vision equipment when there is a whiteout, which happens regularly.
Barra International Airport
Barra Airfield, also known as Barra Eoligarry Airport, is a short runway airport on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
It is located in the large shallow bay of Traigh Mhor, at the northern tip of the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.
In addition to being unusual, the airport is thought to be the only one in the world where scheduled planes use a tidal beach as a landing strip.
Barra is the only beach airport on the planet, and it has three sand runways, making it one of the most special in the world.
The airport is only open during the day and only at low tide, so plan your trip accordingly.
The short sand runways range in length from 680 to 846 meters.
The airport is ideally suited for aircraft with reduced take-off and landing characteristics, as evidenced by the following: (such as twin otters).
The pilots direct the plane to make a soft landing on the beach. The little wooden sticks are used in place of the traditional marking in this instance.
Other than the unmarked runways, pilots and passengers should also be aware of the other hazards. Specific airport service is used to return the seals to the ocean because the seals are commonly found on the beach and fail to perceive any distinctions between the shore and the airport’s runways.
Do you have any of these airports on your travel bucket list? Are they as dangerous as they are made out to be?