1. Cliff Landing
This is not a traditional airport. It is a place where an airplane was forced to make an emergency landing. Luckily, the plane stopped before it went off the cliff. It takes a very skilled pilot to perform such a feat.
2. Lukla Airport, Nepal
This is the main airport that you would take if you were going to be visiting Mt. Everest. This airport is nestled between two mountains and the runway is extremely short. Because of the elevation, the plane cannot get any lights and very little electrical power. Also, there are no air traffic controllers, therefore, it is up to the pilot to safely touch down and land the plane on their own.
3. Courchevel International Airport, France
This French airport is built into the Alps. When the pilot is ready to land, he must fly through a narrow valley for his decent. The runways is also very short. It has the shortest runway of any airport in the world. The runway is just 0.3 miles long. If the pilot is not able to get up enough speed to take off, they will fly right off a cliff and hope that the plane stays in the air. Another reason that takeoff is so difficult is that the runway has a downward slope of about 18.5 percent. Most pilots avoid using this airport at all costs.
4. Toncotin Airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
This is yet another example of an airport that is located between the mountains with very rough terrain. In order for a pilot to prepare for the plane’s descent, they would need to make a 45-degree turn if they are going to reach the runway, which is located in a valley. Once they make the turn, they would need to drop their altitude quickly. If they don’t the plane can scrape the terrain underneath, resulting in a crash. Only the most skilled pilots attempt a landing at this airport.
5. Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten
This airport was initially built for small planes. This is why the runway is just 7,148 feet long. In order for a large plane to land safely, it needs at least 8,202 feet. When the tourist industry in the area started booming, the airport began bringing 747’s and A340’s in its regular air traffic rotation. Another reason that this airport is so dangerous and unique is that there is a public beach located right before the runway. When planes land, huge gusts of wind and sand come up. This is a problem for the people at the beach.
6. Paro Airport in Bhutan, Himalayan Mountains
This airport is so dangerous that there are only 8 pilots in the world who are qualified to land there. The runway is surrounded by mountain peaks that are 18,044 feet high. To make matters worse, the runway is only 6,499 feet long. Because airplanes need to make such a quick descent to get to the strip, only the best of the best can land or take off from this airport.
7. Gibraltar International
This airport is not dangerous because of a short runway or a location inside of the mountains. It is dangerous because the runway actually intersects a main street, Winston Churchill Avenue. When a plane needs to land, the road is closed. There are not people blocking off the street. There is just one stoplight to warn drivers to stop for an airplane. Because there isn’t much to stop drivers, there have been plenty of close calls over the years.
8. McMurdo Air Station, Antarctica
People don’t visit Antarctica often, therefore, the McMurdo Air Station doesn’t have the best safety conditions. The runways is a pretty good length, however, since it is freezing there all year long, the runway is usually covered with slick ice. Since it is dark there for most months of the year, the pilots who land there need to wear night vision goggles so that they can see where they are going.
9. Madeira Airport
This is one of the only airports in the world whose runway was build by engineers. The landing strip has steep cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other. In order to expand the runway, they had to build the extension on over 180 columns. These columns must be able to withstand the heavy shock that airplanes produce during landing. If an airplane comes in too hard, the runway could collapse. So far it hasn’t happened, however, over time the columns can weaken. Without proper upkeep, an accident is definitely possible.
10. Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland
This is one of the most dangerous airports in the world for a few reasons. The environment is what makes this airport so dangerous. The runway is always covered with ice. If an airplane comes in fast on the ice, it is not uncommon for the plane to go off into the snow banks. Because there is always a storm, it can be very difficult for the pilot to see when they are landing. Diminished visibility makes landing at this airport very dangerous. To make matters worse nearby is an active volcano which erupts often. The ash can stall and even destroy the plane’s engines. This can result in a deadly crash. This airport is so dangerous that many pilots refuse to fly in or out of this airport.