The Most Dangerously Designed Airports In The World

These airports often present challenges because of their geographic location or because of their design, because of these issues, maneuvering planes can be problematic for many of the pilots who fly to these locations. Because of the challenges of taking off and landing, these are considered to be the most dangerous airports in the world.

Gibraltar International Airport

If you look at this airport in this photograph, you may not be able to say what makes it so dangerous. Even if you don’t see a mountain or a short runway, the Gibraltar airport crosses the busiest street in the area. Due to its design, the traffic along Winston Churchill Avenue is stopped when planes land in order to avoid accidents.

Svalbard Airport, Norway

Svalbard Airport is the northernmost airport in the world which has frequent scheduled flights. This airport was originally constructed during second World War and wasn’t used for public flights until 1959. Surprisingly, this airport handles just over 154 thousand passengers each year.

Valid from October 1, Norway’s Ministry of Transport and Communication has decided to amend the status of Svalbard Airport Longyear from international to national, the Civil Aviation Authority Norway reports.

«Svalbard airport is not in line with international guidelines for international airports,» the ministry argues.

Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong

                                                  Credits: CNN

With so many buildings north of the runway, landings required a lot of work from the pilots. Due to the dangerous location of the airport, it was eventually closed in 1925 and replaced by Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, a small island west of Hong Kong.

 Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba Island
                      Credits: Daniel Jef |

This airport has one of the shortest commercial runways in the world at just 4metersres (1,312 ft) and at both ends of the runway, you’ll find steep cliffs that drop off into the sea.  Because of the length, jetliners aren’t allowed to land here, but it is open to smaller propeller aircraft.

Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten

                              Credits: Airplane Pictures

If you have heard about this airport, or at least you might have seen some pictures of a jet landing right over the touristy Maho Beach. The Princess Juliana Airport was initially built for smaller planes but has now grown to become the second busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean. If you visit the beach sitting behind the runway, you might find it difficult to simply sit and enjoy it because of high winds and sand that gets blown around by planes on takeoff and landing.

Pilots who land at this airport also have to face a runway which is barely long enough for larger planes and due to surrounding terrain, pilots are forced to make a left or a right turn shortly after takeoff to avoid the mountains. Fortunately though, even though this airport was ranked the 4th most dangerous airport in the world, there have so far been no recorded accidents

Don Mueang International Airport, Thailand

This airport, called Thai by locals serves the greater area of Bangkok is the oldest operating airport in Asia, and one one of the oldest international airports in the world. We aren’t sure why, but someone probably thought a golf course between the runways was a good idea, so they built it. The golf course does of-course have some rule: no weapons and no pictures

LaGuardia Airport in New York

                               Credits: New York Post

This airport has been compared to third world airports by the past US Vice President, Joe Biden. Fortunately, the airport has been approved for $3.6 Billion worth of upgrades to make it more modern. This airport is also in very close proximity to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark Liberty Airport which also have high volumes of airplanes taking off and landing and any point of the day. For pilots flying to this airport, it requires a high level of precision.

Bangda Airport, China

                                              Credits: Wikimedia

The Bangda Airport is located in the Chamdo district of China. The elevation for this airport is 4334 meters above sea level which makes it the highest airport in the world. Due to lower air density, at the high altitude, this airport is equipped with a 4334 m runway to allow aircraft to takeoff and land at higher speeds.

Ketchikan Airport, Alaska

This airport is dangerous simply due to it’s location. It’s located in the Alaskan mountains which makes it prone to high winds and about 50-190 inches of rain along with extremely low temperatures in the freezing range.

 Dammam King Fahd International Airport, Saudi Arabia

Situated 20 km northwest of Dammam lies the largest airport in the world in terms of landmass. Along with three other Saudi Arabian airports, this one has been ranked among the most dangerous due to the high rate of near-crashes which surpasses the global average 7 times.

Matekane Air Strip, Lesotho

                        Credits: Tom Claytor, Wikimedia Commons

This airport is quite dangerous for an obvious reason. The runway is only 1,300 feet long and at the end of it, there’s a huge drop of 2,000 feet. Flying to Matekane’s Air Strip isn’t just for any pilot but it requires a high level of precision and expertise.

McMurdo Air Station, Antarctica

Not exactly a desired tourist destination,  this airport was built mainly for the purpose of serving the United States Antarctic program. It is known to be stable enough to handle heavy jets, but we are talking about ice here, no paved runways. What makes it so dangerous, apart from the below freezing temperatures and continuous darkness, is the fact that if pilots do not land exactly on the designated ice strip, they could crack the ice and submerge in it. A C-121 which crashed in 1970 still lies buried in the snow as a constant reminder of the risk pilots takes when landing on the ice runway. And because this airport is so far away from civilization, this is definitely not an airport where you want to be stranded after a plane crash!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: