The Most Dangerous Airports in the World: A Guide to Navigating the Riskiest Landings
With the staggering number of airplanes taking off and landing from different locations every day, airports can be considered one of the most important structures in the world. These structures provide the necessary infrastructure for efficient air travel, yet not all airports are alike. With some airports located in rugged terrain or surrounded by treacherous conditions, there are certain airports that are considered the most dangerous in the world. Here are the top ten most dangerous airports in the world.
1. Lukla Airport, Nepal
Also known as Tenzing-Hillary Airport, this airport is situated in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal and is known to be the most dangerous airport in the world. The short runway situated between two mountain peaks is only 1,500 ft and requires pilots to be specially trained to land and take off.
2. Toncontin International Airport, Honduras
Located in the capital of Tegucigalpa, Toncontin is considered the second most dangerous airport in the world. The airport has a very short runway of about 6,112 ft that is surrounded by mountains and is located at an elevation of 3,294 ft. Pilots must be highly skilled to land at this location.
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/enrique galeano morales
3. Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten
The narrow runway of this airport is located in front of Maho Beach and is only 7,546 ft long. It is notorious for its very low altitude runways that require highly precise approaches for commercial jet landings and take-offs.
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/Lawrence Lansing
4. Madeira Airport, Portugal
Madeira Airport is located on a small island near Portugal and has a very short runway of 6,588 ft. Pilot must be highly skilled to successfully land at this location due to the strong winds and mountainous terrain.
Photo: flickr.com/Alexander Baxevanis
5. Gibraltar International Airport, Gibraltar
At only 1,800 ft long, Gibraltar International Airport is the shortest commercial airport in the world. Located between the high cliffs on the Rock of Gibraltar, the airport is known to be difficult to land at due to its short runway and limited visibility.
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/Andrew Griffith
6. Paro Airport, Bhutan
This airport is located in the Himalayan mountain range and is known to be one of the most dangerous airports in the world. The airport is surrounded by high peaks, making it difficult for pilots to land and take-off.
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/Uploaded by AlbertHerring
7. Courchevel Airport, France
Located in the French alps, Courchevel Airport is known for its precise landing approaches that require pilots to make sharp turns at the ends of the runway. The airport’s runway is only 1,722 ft, making it one of the shortest runways in the world.
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/Courchevel Altiport
8. Queen Beatrix International Airport, Aruba
Queen Beatrix International Airport is located in the south of Aruba and is known for its narrow runway and turbulent winds that make it difficult for pilots to land and take-off.
9. Ice Runway, Antarctica
This airport is located on the Ross Ice Shelf and is the only airstrip located on the continent of Antarctica. The airport is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world due to its icy conditions and short 1,829 ft runway.
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org & Flickr: Antarctica: McMurdo Ice Runway / Skytraders A319
10. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba
Located on the Caribbean island of Saba, this airport is known for its very short and narrow runway of 1,312 feet. The runway is surrounded by steep cliffs, and pilots must be highly skilled to take-off and land safely.
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/Saba Airport, Most Dangerous Airport in the World, Horizontal