World's 10 most dangerous airports
Kansai International Airport, Japan - With land being a scarce resource in Japan the engineers who built the plane-friendly structure had to do so three miles off shore. Built back in 1987, by 1994 the artificial island had jumbo jets touching down on it. It has had to weather earthquakes, dangerous cyclones, an unstable seabed and sabotage attempts from protestors. Climate change and rising sea levels still pose very serious threats to the airports existence.
Gibraltar Airport, Spain - Sometimes it’s a road and sometimes it’s a runway. That is the best way to describe Winston Churchill Avenue, Gibraltar’s busiest road. Railroad-style crossing gates hold cars back every time a plane lands or departs. Construction of Gibraltar airport dates back to World War II and the base continues to serve for the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force with commercial flights landing on a daily basis.
Madeira International Airport, Portugal - A small island far off the coast of Portugal, which makes an airport that is capable of landing commercial-size aircraft vital to its development. This airport's original runway was only about 5000 feet long, posing a huge risk to even the most experienced pilots and limiting imports and tourism. Engineers extended the runway to more than 9000 feet by building a massive girder bridge atop 200 pillars. The bridge, which itself is over 3000 feet long and 5
Don Mueng International, Thailand - With an 18-hole golf course in the centre of two runways Bangkok’s Don Mueng International sits at number four of the list. Having started out as a military operation the airport course has since opened up to commercial traffic with limited public access due to security threats.
The Ice Runway, Antarctica - As its name it implies, there are no paved runways there, just long stretches of ice and snow meticulously groomed. The runway has no shortage of space. Even super-size aircrafts could land with relative ease. Rather the challenge of not allowing the weight of the aircraft and cargo to break the ice or get the plane stuck in snow.
Congonhas Airport, Brazil - While having an airport only 5 miles from the city center may be a convenience for commuters; it places a strain on both pilots and air traffic control crews. The safety challenge is to just get the plane in there. Managing noise restrictions, terribly awkward arrival and departure routes is all in a day’s work for these pilots.
Courchevel International Airport, France - Getting to the iconic ski resort of Courchevel requires navigating the formidable French Alps before making a hair-raising landing at Courchevel International Airport. The runway is about 1 700-feet-long, but the real surprise is the large hill toward the middle of the strip. Planes take off going downhill and land going uphill.
Princess Juliana International Airport, Saint Maarten - Nothing says fun in the sun like roaring engines and the smell of jet exhaust. Landing on this Caribbean island forces pilots to fly over a small strip of beach, clear a decent-size fence and pass over a road just before hitting the runway.
Svalbard Airport, Norway - Engineers used the region's brutally cold climate to their favor during construction and built the runway on a layer of permafrost. Completed in 1975, slight seasonal changes have caused sections of the runway to become uneven, forcing the need to repave the runway on several occasions. A 2002 study indicates that rising temperatures in the area may increase the need and frequency of maintenance efforts and repaving.
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Netherlands Antilles - Getting to this paradise-like island can be a bit distressing thanks to a 1 300-foot-long runway, slightly longer than most aircraft carrier runways. Large planes aren't landing there, but the small runway is difficult even for Cessnas and similar aircraft. There’s a little X warning planes to not land on parts of the runway. Given the limited amount of land and rolling topography of the island, not many other options exist.