Air travel has become so popular that you’ll struggle to find a place in the world that isn’t serviced by an airport. This obsession with air travel has led to mushroom growth of airports around the world.
When you will look at the pictures below, you will ask yourself this question. “What on earth, they were thinking, when they put that landing strip there?” All of you will agree that the photos below are an airline pilot’s worst nightmare.
These are indeed some of the world’s most difficult landing approaches. Some still active, others have since been retired, but all of them have a reason to be on this list!
Top 10 Worst Airport Runways
Without further delay, here are the 10 most difficult and dangerous landing strips of the world.
1 Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong
With numerous skyscrapers and mountains located to the north and its only runway jutting out into Victoria Harbour, landings at the airport were infamously difficult.
Unfortunately, Kai Tak airport closed in July 1998, but its legend lives on.
2 Funchal Airport, Madeira
The airport is infamous for its short runway which, surrounded by high mountains and the ocean, which make it a tricky landing for even the most experienced of pilots.
Ranked as the 3rd most dangerous airport in the world by "Most Extreme Airports" on The History Channel.
3 Gustaf III Airport, St. Barts
The arrival descent is extremely steep over the hilltop traffic circle and departing planes fly right over the heads of sunbathers (although small signs advise sunbathers not to lie directly at the end of the runway
4 Courchevel Altiport, French Alps
Courchevel’s airport has a certain degree of infamy in the aviation industry as home to one of the shortest runways in the world. The airport has a dangerous approach through deep valleys which can only be performed by specially certified pilots and the runway is a paltry 537 metres long!
5 Princess Juliana Airport, Saint Maarten
The airport is famous for having a runway that connects almost directly to the beach. Although the runway itself is 2,300m long, incoming jets have no margin of error when landing at this airport.
Approaching airplanes must follow a 3° glide slope, flying low over the famous Maho Beach. Plane spotters and tourists alike are drawn to this runway, but please take care if you are fortunate enough to visit this destination, as there was a fatality in 2017 caused by injuries from a jet that was taking off and tourists are frequently criticized for dangerous behaviour on the beach!
6 Gilgit Airport, Pakistan
Due to the short runway at Gilgit airport that is located at the edge of a slope, even an aircraft as small as a Boeing 737 aircraft cannot land and take-off at the Gilgit Airport.
7 Tribhuvan International Airport
It is considered one of the dangerous and deadliest airports in the world because of its location and the difficulties during landing. It is a step by step decent landing and the pilot has to continuously monitor the altitude as well as should be physically able to see the mountains.
Although it has recently been given the go-ahead to extend the runway!
8 Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland
Narsarsuaq Airport is located in Narsarsuaq, in southern Greenland. The lake at the end of the runway and steep cliffs makes it difficult to land even for skilled pilots.
9 Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba, Netherlands Antilles
The locals claim that this is the shortest commercial airport runway in the world. There are not any overrun areas on either end of the paved runway where sheer cliffs immediately drop off over 200 feet into the sea.
10 Lugano Airport, Switzerland
Lugano-Agno’s instrument approach procedure is quite challenging because of its steep angle of descent of 6.65° which is double of the standard approach. This is due to its geographic location in the mouth of a valley.
Which one of these airports would you avoid? Maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to land at one or more? Leave a comment below and tell us more!