Home » Top Ten » Worlds Top Ten Scariest Runways
Mar
17

10. JUANCHO E. YRAUSQUIN AIRPORT, SABA, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport

JUANCHO E. YRAUSQUIN AIRPORT, SABA, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES

Coming in at number 10 on Travel Leisure website’s pick of the world’s scariest runways is a perilous airport situated on the small island of Saba.

Although no major tragedies have occurred here, many aviation experts believe that this airport is one of the most dangerous in the world.

Pilots much tackle blustery winds as they manoeuvre in for a perfect landing on a runway that’s just 400 metres long and perched between tall hills and cliffs that drop into the sea / Flickr user Photcapy.

9. MADEIRA AIRPORT, FUNCHAL, MADEIRA

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MADEIRA AIRPORT, FUNCHAL, MADEIRA

Special training is required for pilots landing at Madeira Airport, which is wedged in by mountains and the Atlantic.

A clockwise approach is necessary to successfully navigate the hair-raising landing which many pilots dread. They must point the aircraft at the mountains and bank right at the last minute in order to align with the fast-approaching runway / Flickr user Pizzodisevo.

8. JOHN F. KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NEW YORK

JOHN F. KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NEW YORK

JOHN F. KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NEW YORK

Pilots have to avoid interfering with flights into New York’s close-by airports, LaGuardia and Newark, while flying into this especially daunting flyway.

The waters of Jamaica Bay beckon at the end of the runway / AP.

7. TONCONTIN AIRPORT, TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS

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TONCONTIN AIRPORT, TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS

Pilots must execute a dramatic 45 degree turn to the left just minuted prior to touching down in a bowl-shaped valley – after negotiating the mountainous terrain.

The airport cannot accommodate aircraft larger than Boeing 757’s.

In 1997 a US Air Force C-130 cargo plane overshot the runway at Toncontin and rolled 200 yards before bursting into flames on a major boulevard, killing three people aboard.

The Honduran government has announced plans to relocate commercial airline traffic to Soto Cano Air Base / Flickr user egmb757lover.

6. MATEKANE AIR STRIP, LESOTHO

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MATEKANE AIR STRIP, LESOTHO

Lesotho has the lowest point of any country in the world, and this perilous air stip is used by the Lesotho Flying Doctors Service.

Taking off at this air strip is a harrowing experience, where the plane drops down the face of a 600 metre cliff until it starts flying.

The runway is only 400 metres long / Claytor.

5. GIBRALTAR AIRPORT, GIBRALTAR, EUROPE

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GIBRALTAR AIRPORT, GIBRALTAR, EUROPE

With the Mediterranean on its east and the Bay of Algeciras on its west, this airport’s truncated runway stretches less than 2,000 metres and requires pinpoint precision and a readiness to hit the brakes as soon as the plane touches down on the tarmac / Reuters.

4. RAEGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT, WASHINGTON DC

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RAEGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT, WASHINGTON DC

Located in the middle of two overlapping air-exclusion zones, Reagan National requires pilots have to steer clear of sites such as the Pentagon and CIA headquarters before making a steep turn in order to land on the peninsula.

Taking off is also a white-knuckled event where pilots are forced to climb quickly and execute a steep left bank to avoid flying over the White House / AP.

3. PRINCESS JULIANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ST. MAARTEN, CARIBBEAN

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PRINCESS JULIANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ST. MAARTEN, CARIBBEAN

At just over 2,000 metres, the length of the airway is suitable for medium-sized jets.

However, when the heavier aircraft such as Boeing 747’s and Airbus A340’s visit from Europe they are forced to fly improbably low over Maho Beach.

Despite the difficulties in approach, there have been no records of major incidents at the airport / Princess Juliana Airport website.

2. PARO AIRPORT, BHUTAN

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PARO AIRPORT, BHUTAN

The Paro valley, surrounded by 5,000 metre high Himalayan peaks, is arguably the world’s most challenging airport to fly into.

Pilots must be specially trained to manoeuvre into the aerie by employing visual flying rules and then landing through a narrow channel of tree-covered hillsides

The airport has one runway and is served by a single airline / Reuters.

1. BARRA AIRPORT, SCOTLAND

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BARRA AIRPORT, SCOTLAND

This curious airport on the small Outer Hebridean Island of Barra is essentially a wide, shallow bay.

It is one of only two airports in the world where scheduled flights use the beach as a runway. At high tide the runways end up under the sea, so flight times vary with the tide / James Gray.

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