Nils Kraus - Aug 31, 2009

If you don’t like flying, please stop reading! brings the Top 10 of the scariest airports in the world according to Travel+Leisure!

Paro Airport, Bhutan

This airport is located in Himalayas. It is in fact tucked into a tightly cropped valley. The mountains around it reach the altitude of 4,900 meters above sea level. Only specially trained pilots can maneuver the plane through a channel of tree-covered hillsides.

Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten

The biggest problem of this airport is its runway which is only 2,180 meters long. This length is sufficient for small and medium sized jets. Still it is the second busiest airport in this region and welcomes planes as Boeing 747 or Airbus A340s, that have to fly very low over Maho Beach and skim just over the perimeter fence.

Reagan National Airport, Washington, DC

Regan National Airport is located directly in the centre of two overlapping air exclusion zones. The location of this airport requires pilots to follow the Potomac River while steering clear of the sensitive sites such as Pentagon and CIA Headquarters. While taking off, pilots need to climb quickly and execute a steep left bank to avoid the White House.

Gibraltar Airport, Gibraltar

Gibraltar Airport is pinched in by the Mediterranean Sea on its eastern side and by the Bay of Algeciras on its western side. Its runway is only 1,828 meters long. So while maneuvering the plane the pilot must be very precise.

Matekane Air Strip, Lesotho

This runway is perched on the edge of a couloir at 2,030 meters. This location means a problem for the pilots. Then imagine the runway is only 399 meters long! You drop down the face of a 609-meter high cliff until you start flying. 

Barra Airport, Barra, Scotland

Barra airport is located on the tiny Outer Hebridean Island of Barra. This airport is actually a wide shallow bay. The roughness of landings is determined by how the tide goes out.

Toncontin Airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

The airport’s altitude is 1,000 meters above sea level and can accommodate planes no larger than Boeing 757. Its runway is only 1,862 long. The pilot must fly through rough- hewn mountain terrain to reach the airport. While landing the pilot must overcome 45 degree, last minute bank only a few minutes before touching down in the valley.

John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York

Pilots have to avoid other planes reaching the other two New York’s airports, LaGuardia and Newark that are located near the John F. Kennedy airport. A noise abatement measure was set up in 1964. This approach forces the pilots to have a reported 457-meter ceiling and an eight kilometer visibility before lining up before runway 13L.

Madeira Airport, Funchal, Madeira

Madeira airport is wedged in by mountains and Atlantic. While landing the pilots must be very precise. The pilots are also specially trained to be able to land there. The unique elevated extension of the runway prolonged the runway to very comfortable 2,743 meters. Still the approach to Runway 5 is very scary. The pilot must point the plane at the mountains and at the last minute bank right into the runway.

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba, Netherlands Antilles

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is located on a precipitous peninsula on the north-eastern corner of the island. Strong wind is not unusual at this island so the pilots have to tackle wind and occasional spin drift while maneuvering on the runway that is only 396 meters long.

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  1. A friend of mine working at an important airline told me that referring to Airport Toncontín, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; "however this is one of the safest for a single reason, major airlines will only appoint to fly here their most experienced pilots. These airports are classified by airlines to require pilots with vast experience" so He said: "I feel more comfortable when landing here, because I know for sure that I am in good hands."

  2. Dont forget Congonhas, Sao Paulo's infamous domestic airport.


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