For every great thing in the world, there are equivalents which are not so pleasant. For every top-of-the-line cell phone model, there’s one with the barest of features and will probably cause cancer! For every wonderful, sparkling, luxurious resort, there’s a beach near a crime-ridden area, filled with litter and an old house near it to rent. And for every large airport filled with amenities and safety precautions, there are ones which are essentially an airstrip and a building. Here are those airports that have earned the title of most dangerous in the world.
1. Lukla Airport, Nepal – The people who attempt to climb Mount Everest know this place very well. Renamed in January 2008 as Tenzing-Hillary airport, after the two men who first ascended the highest mountain in the world, this airport is where all Everest climber aspirants land to start their journey. The runway is around half a kilometer long, 20m wide, with an incline being a staggering 20%! With a 700-meter drop on one end and a mountain in the other, and the airport being so high up, this is another added risk to adventurers. There have been five recorded plane accidents. Nevertheless, the people who do come here consider it as part of the risk they signed up for.
2. Courchevel, France – A ski area in the French Alps, it is the largest linked ski area in the world. This is the first resort in France to be constructed from scratch, as opposed to the others which were built around an already existing village. Courchevel’s airport is infamous for having a short runway of around half a kilometer and a gradient of 18.5%! Pilots have to land on the higher incline to slow down enough, and takeoffs must be done towards the decline to pick up speed.
3. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba – The only airport in Saba, in the Caribbean, it is well-known to flyers because of the methods of landing and taking off for the small airport. There have been no tragedies there, but it is still very dangerous. One side has high hills while all the others drop into the sea. The runway length is a bone-chilling 396m, only allowing small aircraft and helicopters to land! The tower is an advisory service only and does not provide air traffic control. You also can’t refuel, so tough luck if you run out.
4. Princess Juliana International Airport, Saint Martin – A very busy airport in the Eastern Caribbean, it is a major gateway for other airports nearby. Its runway of a little above two kilometers means that large jets have to fly low to land, and beachgoers at nearby Maho Beach are often treated to an up close and personal view of a big plane. Signs are placed nearby so no unfortunate spotter would be blown back by any plane’s powerful engines.
The ease of air travel allows lots of airports to pop up, including not so safe ones. Been to any of these airports? Speak up and tell us about your experience!