Have you ever been to the Most Dangerous Airports in the World? Have you ever held onto your armrest on an airplane going through turbulence as your stomach twists, softly praying you to make it through or at least know how to open up that parachute you never had to use? Fortunately, this isn’t a frequent occurrence with destinations to which people more commonly travel. However, for some others, every landing and takeoff is an adventure. These are the most dangerous airports in the world. Travel to these at your peril or for an incredible adrenaline rush.
Let us begin our list of the Most Dangerous Airports in the World.
1. Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Marteen
With a stretch of the beach located right before the runway, Princess Juliana Airport keeps people holding on to their heads. As the plane descends, it is only a few feet above the people’s heads and also greets them with an unpleasant gush of sand and wind. However, astonishingly, we haven’t reached the dangerous territory yet. The main scare is the runway of only 2,179 meters, which is short of the 2500 meters that are easily required for a cozy landing.
2. Gibraltar International Airport
As children, we all peered through a car door to the car window to look at an airplane fly through the air. At Gibraltar, you can not just look at it go by but fear as it flies towards you. The beginning of the runway intersects with a functional street that requires to be halted during descents. In addition to that scary phenomenon, the runway ends suddenly at the sea on both ends of the runway.
3. Gisborne Airport
While Gibraltar dodges the road traffic to avoid accidents, Gisborne takes it one step further as the railway line intersects with the runway. Cars may be halted at Gibraltar but both schedules of the railways and airplanes must be taken care of in Gisborne to avoid any unfortunate incidents. In addition to this, the airport has three grass runways and only one main runway.
4. Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland
The runway is not unlike the place it is situated at, frozen. The frosted runways are only one of the reasons the airport is feared by pilots. Amidst fjords, the airport is subject to harsh winds and fog, which contribute to the unfavorable conditions for landing. If this has worried you, be wary of the active volcanoes in close vicinity that randomly erupt ash, adding to the long list of problems at the runway.
5. McMurdo Air Station, Antarctica
It is hardly surprising that the least traveled continent does not have the most hospitable conditions or infrastructure to support a functional runway. In the perpetually freezing climate, even the runway is manufactured from ice. The sleek terrain may cause an amateur pilot to skid the aircraft if proper precautions are not taken. The weight of the airplane is also a major factor as it might crack the very runway. And night vision goggles are necessary to navigate the pitch nights.
6. Barra International Airport, Scotland
An exhausting workday leaves us fantasizing about flying away to calming beaches. Barra International Airport takes the phrase quite literally. Situated on the sandy bay of Traigh Mhòr, the airport is just five feet above sea level. The runway is hence submerged in cases of high tide. This requires the aircraft to follow a strict schedule and only attempt a landing in particular conditions.
7. Wellington International Airport
You might love staring at clear, neverending waters of the sea from sky-piercing heights in an airplane. This runway allows you to just that. In fact, from the beginning of the descent to the end, the starting and ending of this runway are straight into the sea. The worrisome length of 1,936 meters just adds to the trouble. A pilot also needs to steer through mountains and mighty winds while descending. And just when you think you are in the clear, hurricane winds could hit you as you disembark.
8. Paro Airport, Bhutan
What can you expect of an airport that has less than 20 pilots qualified to even land on it? Sitting atop a magnificent 2,225 meters above sea level, this pilot’s nightmare is surrounded by intimidating mountains approximately 5,486 meters high. In addition to rough weather conditions that do not allow for easy landing- landing is allowed only during the day- the runway is not even in the clear vision of the pilot and requires the airplane to be maneuvered a steep 45 degrees before drastically dropping onto the runway.
9. Lukla Airport, Nepal
The recent traffic at Mount Everest has gained tourism to the Himalayas a little infamy. This still hasn’t discouraged people from the Everest trek. If you ever decide to travel there, Lukla airport might be the one you have to experience- and you better be ready for it. With a fearsome short runway of only 527 meters, it is quite a risk to embark on, even if the weather conditions are wholesome. The risk factor increases as the runway have a cliff on one side, and a stone wall on the other. The often disrupted connection to the air traffic controllers also forces the pilots to land without assistance. Combine that with no lights, and you have the ideal horror scenario.
10. Courchevel Airport, France
The French Alps paint a picturesque scenery of the gorgeous frosty-tipped mountains and skiing, but if you have landed at the Courchevel Airport, the French Alps may be associated with danger in your memory. While Lukla’s 527 meters troubles us, Courchevel’s even shorter 518 meters runway is a jaw-dropper. In addition to this, the runway has an 18.5 percent down-gradient which means even while taking off, the airplane must travel down the slope of the runway, making both take-off and landing, extremely dangerous.
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