Traveling by air can be a rewarding and fun experience, and it gets you to your destination quicker and with less hassle than other modes of transport. But have you ever stopped to take a good look at the airports you are departing from or landing in? We are sure if most of you did a full assessment, you might not choose to travel by air just as easily. We assume airports will be spacious and will have enough space to maneuver the aircraft. However, while some possess this seemingly-obvious feature, others only leave your hearts beating out of proportion as the lack of space alone makes it dangerous to be an airport. We did a little research on some interesting airports around the world, and our results have left us with the most dangerous ones. It sure takes a skillful pilot and staff to work these locations.
Top 10 Scariest Airports
Here is a list of ten airports you might want to avoid if possible:
McMurdo Air Station in Antarctica
Antarctica is known for its all year icy look; thus, the risks regarding landing in its airport are high. They do have enough length on their runway, but with the thick layers of ice, it is not the easiest to maneuver, so focus and skill are a must!
Lukla Airport in Nepal
For those who have visited Mount Everest before, they will tell you of the scary ordeal. This airport sits between mountains and has a short runway, which makes landing rather tricky. Sometimes, no traffic controllers are there so pilots have to watch and land without assistance. There is also minimal electrical supply (none in some areas), adding to the risk component of this airport.
Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten
Have you ever seen an airport with a public beach in the path leading to the runway? Well, the Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch island of St. Maarten features this, making it risky but at least it’s something out of the ordinary to see. The track measures at approximately 2,179 meters, and though many believe this is long enough, the minimum requirement for an aircraft to have a safe landing is 2,500 meters. So, the pilots landing these planes must be extremely skilled!
Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong
Though this airport was closed in 1998, it was deemed “the mother of all scary airports” mostly because of where it was. With a large number of skyscrapers in the region and the mountainous surrounding, the landing was not always the easiest of tasks for even the most skilled pilots.
Narsarsuaq Airport in Greenland
Greenland is an icy white country, despite the first part of its name. At all times, the airports are covered in ice (slippery and wet!) and will make landing quite hard for even the world’s best pilot. This airport’s runway is only 1,800 meters, which tops off reasons why it is one of the most dangerous to travel by.
Toncontin Airport in Honduras
If you want to experience a sudden drop in altitude and leave your stomach churning, then make the Toncontin Airport in Honduras a must-visit. The airport sits between high rising mountains, and pilots have to angle a 45-degree bank for effectively landing. So, if they miss that, another turn has to be made. Thankfully, you can be certain that these pilots are well-accustomed to flying in and out of this airport.
Paro Airport in Bhutan
This airport only allows a selected number of pilots in the world to land at this airport, as it sits along the banks of the Paro Chu, and the runway sits at an average of 2,225 meters above sea level but still below the high-rise peaks of over 5,486 meters. Landing at this airport is restricted to daylight hours only demonstrating just how rough it is.
Madeira Airport in Portugal
Brace yourself for this one! The airport’s runway measures up to 2,780 meters, but that’s good, right? Well, yes and no. You might feel less at ease after exiting the plane just to realize that a part of the runway sits over the ocean and is supported by 180 columns. Yeah… over the sea! It means one wrong move could be devastating.
Japan’s MCAS in Futenma
This airport is not open for commercial use but is the base station for aircraft landing for the U.S. Marines. The airport sits up high, and this feature alone makes it hard for landing. However, it is always a spectacular sight to see the different aircrafts going in and out.
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport on Saba Island
The Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport sits at an average 45 kilometers south of St. Maarten on the island of Saba. This airport has the world’s shortest commercial runway of only 400 meters and is a scary thought even for pilots. The area has some exciting features and amenities, but pilots most probably think twice before they accept a job flying in and out of here.
Visit www.iata.org, The International Air Transport Association for more information.