The 10 Most Dangerous Airport Landings In The World
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The 10 Most Dangerous Airport Landings In The World

Rio de Janeiro , Brazil , France , Nepal , New Zealand , Portugal , Saba , Scotland , St Maarten
Brunno Braga
Brunno Braga Nov 11, 2021

Traveling by plane is a good time-saving alternative, however, in certain places, a simple trip can become a nightmare if a place has dangerous airport landings.

We’ve rounded up some of the worst around the globe. We took into consideration the following factors: having short runways, being located at a high altitude, being in a place with unusual weather conditions, registering a high density of air traffic or being in the middle of mountains or buildings.

Each one of these dangerous airport landings require highly experienced pilots, who must perform arduous landing and take-off maneuvers.

Although there is no single list that lists these dangerous airports, the names of several of them are mentioned in blogs and specialized pages.

1. Barra Airport, Scotland

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

You won’t find an airport as peculiar as Barra, Scotland, anywhere else in the world. On this European island, the airstrip is on the sand. Landing is only possible if weather permits. The three lanes can be completely submerged during high tide days.

2. Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Nepal

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For those who want to climb Mount Everest, the adventure begins at landing, as the Tenzing-Hillary Airport (also known as Lukla), in Nepal, is considered the most dangerous airport in the world.

Located 2,842 meters above sea level, the terrifying airstrip is just 527 meters long. In addition, the site is surrounded by mountains and chasms, and it can only be accessed by helicopters and small aircraft.

3. Paro Airport, Bhutan

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The list of pilots authorized to land at Paro airport in Bhutan is very small. The track is very close to the Himalayas, surrounded by mountains over 5,000 meters high. Flights may only arrive or depart during the day.

4. Wellington Airport , New Zealand

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To land at the airport in Wellington, New Zealand, the pilot needs to have a lot of skill and experience. The nearly 2000 meter long runway is located in a mountainous area and is often hit by very strong gusts of wind, making landing quite challenging.

5. Courchevel Airport, France

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The starting point for those who want to enjoy the ski resorts in the French Alps, Courchevel airport, in France, offers great adrenaline. Snow and mountains are not the only obstacles in the place.

The runway is just over 500 meters long and, unlike regular airstrips, it has an 18-degree incline to help with the landing.

6. Princess Juliana Airport, Sint Maarten

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The Princess Juliana airport, in the Caribbean, by itself, is already a tourist spot. The airstrip is very close to the beach, and this allows bathers to take impressive photos at the time of takeoffs and landings.

But for those on the sand, it’s important to be careful with the wind produced by aircraft and not turn fun into a headache.

7. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba Island

File:Saba-SAB.jpg
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At 400 meters long, the runway at the Juancho E. Yrausquin airport in Saba is considered to be one of the shortest in the world. Only small planes can use the site.

In addition to its reduced size, the track is still surrounded by the Caribbean Sea.

8. Madeira Airport , Portugal

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The combination of sea and mountains forms the landscape around Madeira airport, in Portugal. The consequence of this, in addition to the beauty, are the winds that make landings and takeoffs difficult.

The solution found by the engineers was the construction of a platform, supported by 180 pillars up to 50 meters high, which extends above the sea, thus increasing the area available for landings and takeoffs.

9. McMurdo Station Aiport, Antarctica

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McMurdo station, located in Antarctica, offers pilots a few inches of thin ice to land at this airport.

Its runway complex was built on glacial ice of the McMurdo Ice Shelf, which is approximately 20 kilometers from the McMurdo station. The airfield goes by the name ‘Phoenix Airfield’, which came into service in 2016 and replaced the former ‘Pegasus Field’.

Phoenix is composed of heavily compacted snow known as ‘white ice’ while Pegasus suffered more melting which was built over ‘Blue Ice’.

10. Santos Dummont Airport, Brazil

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Santos Dumont Airport is the second major airport serving Rio de Janeiro. The airport is one of three Brazilian airports subject to slot restrictions.

The airport is restricted to 23 operations per hour and to narrow-body, military and general aviation aircraft only, due to short runway lengths (700 meters) and a difficult approach due to its proximity to the Sugar Loaf mountain.

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