Millions of people travel around the world daily. Traveling by plane for some may be a joyful experience and for others a nightmare...for pilots? Well, for these people who are responsible of the lives they are carrying, there are some airports around the world that challenge their skills whenever they have to go there!
The list below shows 25 airports with death defying approaches!
1. Toncontin International Airport, Honduras
Although Boeing 757s land and take off from this airport all the time, the History Channel rated it the second-most dangerous airport in the world due to the mountainous terrain.
2. Agatti Aerodrome, Lakshadweep, India
Constantly up for a potential extension (it’s only 4,000 feet long), planes have to risk the short runway to serve the local 36 Indian tourist islands.
3. Cleveland Hopkins International
Not terrible as an actual airport, but it’s notorious for having incompetent staff. This includes sleeping through landing protocols and being too engrossed in DVDs to help park planes at the gates. Fun times.
4. Gibraltar International Airport, Gibraltar
With a major road running through the middle, traffic has to stop for every plane that lands.
5. Kansai International Airport, Japan
Large enough to be viewed from space, it faces earthquakes, cyclones, and an unstable seabed.
6. Wellington International Airport, New Zealand
A truly hazardous and short runway, it ends with a death-defying fall straight into the ocean.
7. Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport
Not dangerous as much as it is creepy, embedded in Runway 10’s tarmac is a pair of grave markers belonging to the previous owners of the land upon which the airport now sits.
8. Qamdo Bamda Airport, Tibet
At 14,000 feet, the thin oxygen often plays extreme havoc with engines, leaving pilots and passengers scared out of their minds.
9. Princess Juliana International Airport, Saint Martin
This one pretty much speaks for itself. Wow.
10. Paro Airport, Bhutan
With only eight pilots qualified to land at this Himalayan airport, it’s no wonder passengers take anti-anxiety meds before landing.
11. Old Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Ecuador
Closed last year for being too dangerous, it was beset by mountainous terrain, active volcanoes, and a valley prone to fog.
12. Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland
One of the most difficult approaches in the world, it requires flying up a fjord with severe turbulence and wind shear even on the calmest days of the year.
13. Lukla Airport, Nepal
This runway makes for a harrowing takeoff, with the end 2,900 meters up in the air.
14. Madeira Airport, Portugal
It’s pretty easy to see why it’s so dangerous with an elevated (and artificial) runway.
15. Los Angeles (LAX)
Los Angeles International has been ranked multiple times throughout the years as the most dangerous airport in the U.S.
16. Ice Runway, Antarctica
One of three major airstrips used to haul supplies and researchers to Antarctica’s McMurdo Station. This was developed to allow passenger Boeing jets to land instead of taking up room on cargo planes.
17. Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong
Once called “the mother of all scary airports,” it was shut down in 1998 after pilots couldn’t stand it anymore.
18. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba Island
Only fit for the smallest of planes, and even they often come VERY close to falling over the edge.
19. Gustaf III Airport, Saint Barthélemy
This runway is so small that planes can only carry a maximum of 20 people.
20. Gisborne Airport, New Zealand
This airport is unique. Unique because it has a regular freight train rolling through it every day!
21. Don Mueang International Airport, Thailand
Yes, that IS an 18 hole golf course in the middle of the runways.
22. Courchevel Altiport, France
Serving the uber rich who want to ski the Alps, this incredibly short runway has a ski mogul in the middle of it.
23. Dammam King Fahd International Airport, Saudi Arabia
King Fahd International is the largest airport in the world in terms of landmass, sprawling over three hundred square miles of desert.
24. Congonhas Airport, Brazil
Located just 5 miles from the center of downtown São Paulo. Apparently pilots need strong doses of alcohol after their flight to calm themselves down.
25. Barra International Airport, Scotland
Barra International Airport is the only airport on the planet where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway.
Sources: Architecture and Design, List25
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