We look into many things when planning a trip, the flights, the stay, etc. Even the nitty-gritty bits like what’s available at the airport. But we have never looked into the significance of the airport.
The idea of an adventure starts at the airport. From the iced runways of an airport to the table-top landings of an airport, some places in the world are very dangerous.
01. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport – Saba Island
This 1300-foot runway ends with a nice beach vacation or a sheer drop off a cliff.
02. Qamdo Bamda Airport – Tibet
This hub sits 14,000 feet above sea level, which they compensate for by having a runway almost 3.5 miles long.
03. Ice Runway – Antarctica
“Runway” is a strong word; this is more of a groomed piece of ice that giant airplanes full of supplies have to take off and land on without getting stuck or breaking through soft ice.
04. Gibraltar Airport – Gibraltar
This engineer’s nightmare has the city’s main highway cutting directly across the airport’s runway, stopping traffic every time a plane has to take off or land.
05. Madeira Airport – Portugal
The short runways here were slightly lengthened after a crash in 1977, but pilots must still take a straight shot at the mountains and avoid them with a sharp bank to have enough room to land.
06. Princess Juliana International Airport – St. Maarten
The runway is somewhat short, but the intense part of this airport is when the jets come to within 30-60 tourists on the beach.
07. Courchevel – France
This runway in the Alps has a snowy 1,700-foot runway, but the real challenge is the 18.5% grade that you have to navigate for takeoff and landing.
08. Paro Airport – Bhutan
The small mountain passage approach to a narrow runway is gnarly enough that only eight pilots worldwide are deemed qualified enough to land here.
09. Svalbard Airport – Longyear
This Norwegian airport has a significant structure built entirely out of ice and permafrost. So much so that they’ve had to engineer insulation and cooling systems so that the airport never melts into a puddle.
10. Toncontin International Airport – Honduras
The semi-short runway is one thing, but the mountain range surrounding the airport providing only one path in and out is a whole different ordeal.
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