People flock to Maho Beach in Saint Martin for up-close encounters with airplanes. This particular jet might have gotten a little too close as it approached Princess Juliana International Airport. If you’re wondering why aircraft are forced to land so close to the beach, it’s to touch down near the start of the short Runway 10, which is 2,300 meters in length. Continue reading for more crazy and dangerous airports.
5. Toncontin International Airport – Honduras
Toncontin International Airport is a civil and military airport located 4-miles from the center of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. According to the History Channel program “Most Extreme Airports”, it ranks as the second most dangerous airport in the world. The approach to the airport is considered to be one of the most difficult in the world to all aircraft, especially in inclement weather conditions.
4. Gibraltar International Airport – Gibraltar
Gibraltar International Airport’s runway is owned by the Ministry of Defence for use by the Royal Air Force as RAF Gibraltar. In 2013 the airport handled 383,876 passengers and 351,867 kg of cargo on 3,564 total flights. Winston Churchill Avenue (the main road heading towards the land border with Spain) intersects the airport runway, and consequently has to be closed every time a plane lands or departs. The History Channel programme Most Extreme Airports ranked the airport the fifth most extreme airport in the world.
3. Narsarsuaq Airport – Greenland
Narsarsuaq Airport is located in Narsarsuaq, a settlement in the Kujalleq municipality in southern Greenland. Along with Kangerlussuaq Airport, it is one of two airports in Greenland capable of serving large airliners. It’s also the only international airport in southern Greenland. One of the most difficult approaches in the world, it requires pilots to fly up a fjord with severe turbulence and wind shear even on the calmest days of the year.
2. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport – Saba Island
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is the only airport on the Caribbean island of Saba. The airport has the shortest commercial runway in the world, only 396 meters (1,299 ft) long, flanked on one side by high hills, with cliffs that drop into the sea at both ends. Although the airport is closed to jet traffic, regional airline propeller aircraft are able to land there under waivers from The Netherlands Antilles’ Civil Aviation Authority. The most common aircraft to land there are the Twin Otter and BN-2 Islander.
1. Courchevel Altiport – France
Courchevel Airport serves Courchevel, a ski resort in the French Alps. The airfield has a very short runway of only 537 metres (1,762 ft) with a gradient of 18.6%. There is no go-around procedure for landings at Courchevel, due to the surrounding mountainous terrain. The airport is considered dangerous, as it features a difficult approach, an upslope runway and ski runs in the adjacent area.