Airports Posing Life-Threatening Risks: Where Departure and Arrival Hang in the Balance

by operator

More or less, we all adore traveling by air. It is convenient, comfortable (mostly), and yes, provides breathtaking cloudy views for your Instagram upload. But what if we informed you there are airports in the world that could frighten you from even taking that long-awaited flight? Yes, you heard correctly, because here is a compilation of some of the most hazardous airports in the world that can even make the bravest passenger quiver and the most skilled pilot crumble! Fly at your own peril, we must say!

Dutch Caribbean Island of Saba

1. Lukla Airport, Nepal

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At an altitude of 8000 feet (2,438 meters), Lukla Airport is a top competitor when it comes to the world’s dangerous airports. Individuals traveling to Mount Everest utilize this airport, which not only has minimal electricity but also extremely short landing and takeoff strips. Furthermore, the pilot must navigate through the hilly region and in poor visibility amidst harsh winds. We wish you the best of luck for this one!

airport on pillars

2. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba

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The Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is situated on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Saba and possesses a runway that is merely 400 meters in length. Yes, it is one of the shortest in the world, and on top of that, it is also surrounded by hills on one side and the ocean on the other. Naturally, large flights cannot land here, but even the smaller ones encounter immense difficulty.

3. Madeira Airport, Portugal

plane on ice runway

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Rebranded in 2017 as Christiano Ronaldo Airport, the Madeira Airport has its runway constructed using pillars and was once notorious for its small size and challenging weather conditions for landing. Although the runway was enlarged, the circumstances remain unchanged, but those who adore the picturesque small island of Madeira, don’t mind the risk at all.

plane runway near beach

4. Ice Runway (NZIR), Antarctica

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A runway specifically designed for the US Antarctic Program, this one can accommodate large and medium-sized flights, but the catch here is that it is not a genuine runway at all. It is entirely maintained snow and ice, and the pilots must exercise extreme caution when landing here. Talk about obstacles on your journey to Antarctica!

5. Barra International Airport (BRR), Scotland

planes flying over beaches

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The sole airport that utilizes a beach as its runway, the Barra International Airport is undeniably one-of-a-kind. Furthermore, the beach runway is exceptionally short, making the landing an even more challenging ordeal for the pilot (and the passengers too!).

6. Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), Saint Martin

plane passes through the busiest road

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One of the most hazardous airports in the world, the Princess Juliana International Airport has its airplanes soaring over beaches and roads just a few feet above the ground. While it may appear exhilarating in photographs, it is actually extremely nerve-wracking when the pilot has to fly and land a plane this close to the general public. In addition to this, what contributes to its peril is also the fact that it has a shorter runway than usual. Best of luck to the pilot, passengers, and the beach enthusiasts who desire to get some sun!

plane and train on same track

7. Gibraltar International Airport (GIB), Gibraltar

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The Gibraltar International Airport is a civilian airport that serves the British overseas territory of Gibraltar and is quite ordinary except for one thing. It passes through the busiest road on the island. Yes, you heard that correctly and not only do the vehicles have to stop every time an airplane passes, the pilot now also has to watch out for road traffic in addition to the air one. Phew!

8. Gisborne Airport, New Zealand

short runway with water bodies on both the ends

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The last thing one anticipates from an airport is to have a train rolling on its runway and that is what the Gisborne Airport is renowned for. The small airport has three grass runways and one main runway (the one with the train) and can become quite terrifying for pilots and passengers. Talk about anti-anxiety medication!

9. Wellington International Airport (WLG), New Zealand

runway view through plane

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Another one perched on the list of world’s dangerous airports, the Wellington International Airport not only has a very brief runway (6,351 feet) but also water bodies on both ends. As a result, the pilot must be precise in knowing where to land and take off so as to avoid any undesirable submergence in the water. Tip: Bring along a swimming outfit.

10. Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland

plane near small houses

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Undoubtedly, one of the most perilous airports globally when it comes to landing, the Narsarsuaq Airport in Greenland necessitates the pilots to soar up a fjord in the presence of severe turbulence and wind shift even in the calmest of days. Not precisely a delightful landing, we suggest!

11. Paro Airport, Bhutan

small runway with small plane

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There are only a few pilots globally who are certified to land at this airport and that alone should intimidate you greatly. What makes it classify as one of the world’s hazardous airports? Well, let’s just say, the Himalayas and its treacherous winds!

12. Gustaf III Airport, Saint Barthélemy

ice on runway

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The airstrip at this airport is designated for petite aircraft capable of accommodating a maximum of 20 passengers, but the truth is, it is even diminutive for those compact planes making a landing here. Comprehend?

13. Courchevel Altiport, France

slippery runway

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Designed for the extremely wealthy individuals who desire to engage in skiing activities in the Alps, this airport will evaluate your determination once you arrive before you can proceed to enjoy your sport. Recognized as one of the most perilous airports worldwide, it not only possesses an incredibly brief landing strip but also includes a snow-covered bump in its center.

14. Congonhas Airport (CGH), Brazil

plane on runway

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Another noteworthy contender concerning hazardous airports globally is Congonhas Airport, which not only stands as the second busiest airport in Brazil but also consists of an exceptionally slippery landing strip that has resulted in numerous accidents. The pilots generally require a libation or two after arriving at this location.

15. Svalbard Airport (LYR), Norway

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Svalbard Airport is among the most treacherous airports globally due to its runway being constructed directly on frozen water. The phenomenon of global warming is resulting in significant hazards and harm to this airport, which will eventually necessitate its closure due to the distortion of the runway in the future.

Now that you possess knowledge regarding these unsafe airports, we genuinely hope that you will exercise caution while choosing your destinations. Kindly inform us if you have any additional locations to add to your “world’s dangerous airports” checklist.

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