If you’re looking forward to your next vacation, you’re probably dreaming about days spent enjoying beautiful scenery, sunbathing on the beach and sightseeing in a historical city. Most of us won’t even give a thought to the airplane trip, except a little nervousness right before take-off and landing.
So what makes an airport dangerous? It can be the topography of the surrounding landscape, features like high mountain peaks, volcanoes and extreme weather patterns. Other factors that can make a landing or departure hazardous are close proximity to heavily populated areas and short runways. And what about the runway crossing a busy street?
Here are some of the most dangerous airports in the world, for the above reasons and more.
Gibraltar International Airport
The 5500-foot runway of this airport crosses the main street of the tiny peninsula.
The street has to be closed each time a plane lands or takes off.
You wouldn’t want to run the stop sign at this airport!
Toncontin Airport, Honduras
The airport in Tegucigalpa is situated in a valley 3,294 feet above sea level
Pilots need to maneuver carefully to clear the mountain peaks and reach the airport.
Huge airliners like Boeing 757s have to make a monster bank left just before touchdown.
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba Island
This Caribbean Island airport has the shortest runway of any commercial airport At 400-meters long.
The runway has a mountain on one side, an ocean on the other and sheer cliffs at the end.
The airport is closed to traffic except for rare circumstances.
Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten
Built for smaller planes to land on, this airport is used by commercial airliners.
Princess Juliana is one of the Caribbean’s busiest airports, and it’s right next to the beach.
Beachgoers have been knocked down by the wind of passing planes!
Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland
Pilots have to deal with turbulence and wind shear as they fly up a fjord to get to the runway.
A nearby active Volcano poses yet another hazard to aircraft.
The volcano erupted in 2010, the ash cloud containing silica particles which can destroy aircraft engines.