While the majority of people see the airplane as a fast means of transportation, the rest might not use it due to their fear of heights, turbulences or crashing. Some Hollywood companies were inspired by this fear and created movies about airplanes crashing in the weirdest or scariest place, but reality shows that around 60% of accidents actually happened during taking off or landing. We have made a list with the most dangerous runways in the world, where only the most adventurous would dare to go.
10. Chūbu Centrair International Airport
Chūbu Centrair is placed on an artificial island in Ise Bay, 35 km (22 miles) south of Nagoya in central Japan. Originally a single runway in the middle of the ocean, the airport quickly developed. Allegedly, almost 12 million people used the airport in the 2006. Only looking at the picture below can give you the chills. Initially, the main terminal had to look like an origami crane, but the architects have abandoned this plan due to cost. Currently, the main terminal is in the shape of letter “T”.
9. Congohas Airport, Brazil
This airport is only 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the city center. After construction was finished in 1936, Sao Paulo registered a substantial growth, thus expanding. Due to the location it is challenge for both pilots and air traffic control crews to land or depart planes, as they have to managing noise restrictions as well as terribly awkward arrival and departure routes.
8. Madeira Airport, Portugal
Madeira International Airport controls national and international air traffic for the island of Madeira. Situated on the island cliffs, between the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains, it is renowned for the short runaways which make landing risky even for the most skilled pilots. In 2000, the runway was rebuilt and extended with a part sustained by 180 columns, each about 70 m (230 ft) tall.
7. Barra International Airport, Scotland
This is a unique airport, being the only one in the world were planes are using the beach as a runaway. The beach is set out with three runways in a triangle, marked by permanent wooden poles at their ends. It is rarely used at night while by day the flights are scheduled taken into account the tides.
6. McMurdo Station Airport, Antarctica
If landing on sand seems easy, then you should try the Ice Runaway, from Antarctica. Believe it or not, aircraft take off and land here all year long, as this is the main runaway out of 3 that are used for the US Antarctic Program. As ice and not tarmac is used for landing and taking off, the ground temperate is meticulously monitored. Pilots have reported that landing here is easier than in a normal airport. The only test is to correctly estimate the weight of the airplane and of the cargo, so as the ice would not break under the weight.
5. Princess Juliana International Airport – St. Maarten
The airport is situated on a small island and it was nicknamed ‘The Airport on the Beach’. It might seem like fun, but it is really dangerous. Close to the airport’s gates there is a sign, stating: “Jet blast of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extremely bodily harm and/or death.” In 2012, a woman was carried into a cement wall by the jet blast. The airport staff took action and now is trying to enhance the personal safety of the island’s visitors, as well as the users of the airport.
4. Toncontin Airport – Tegucigalpa, Honduras
This airport is considered one of the most challenging / dangerous airports in the world due to due to its closeness to the mountains, the short runway and most of all the difficulty approach to runway. Boeing 757s are the largest aircrafts that normally land at Toncontín. Even with its recent runway extension, Toncontín has one of the shortest international runways in the world. This might be just the perfect place for armrest-death-gripping.
3. Courchevel International Airport , France
Featuring in the opening scene of the James Bond Film “Tomorrow never dies”, the Courchevel Airport is considered dangerous die to the difficult approach, being situated in an adjacent area used for ski runs. As landing here was not breath taking enough, the extremely short uphill runway has 525 m (1,722 ft) with gradient of 18.5%. In order to land here, pilots need serious training. Currently, you can get here by helicopter, charter or with a private plane.
2. Lukla Airport, Nepal
Tighten your seatbelt as we are about to descent in one of the busiest airports in the world! Landing and take-off at Lukla is a palm sweat experience. If you have said your prayers, then you are ready to enter this airport that acts as the gateway to the Mount Everest. The airplanes approach landing through a maze of Spectacular Mountain peaks have inside no more than 18 passengers. Landing on a strip 450 m (1,476 ft) long and an incline of 12%, without landing aids, leaves no room for error.
1. Gibraltar International Airport
It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “do something every day that scares you”. Well, if you are searching for some butt-clenching, nervous excitement, this is the place to be!
Gibraltar International Airport is often ranked as the most dangerous in Europe. It is located at a few minutes walk from the town center, as the runway actually intersects the express highway between Spain and Island. Consequently, when a plane needs to land or to take off, the traffic is shut down. Are you ready to land here?