Scary Airports Worldwide That Make Us Want To Keep Our Feet Firmly On Land - drivingtodays

Scary Airports Worldwide That Make Us Want To Keep Our Feet Firmly On Land


Going on a flight can be a pretty scary experience for some people, and for a good reason. There is something rather terrifying about flying in a metal cylinder in the sky, supported by nothing but engines and wings! People who suffer from this fear are said to have “flight anxiety,” and it is a medically recognized condition. But there is strangely no medical term for the “fear of airports.” You might think that these places are relatively safe, but you would be wrong. Not all airports are built in remote areas – some of them are actually built right next to roads and beaches! This makes things pretty dangerous for both those aboard planes and those nearby. Here’s just a few of them that will make you run for the hills!

Gisborne Airport

If you’re afraid of trains as well as planes, then you should definitely avoid this entry on our list. This airport has a railway running through it – literally! It is in the center of the runway and is used relatively often.

Image courtesy of destinationtips.com

Just look at the picture above if you do not believe us! A lot of serious work goes into making sure that there are no collisions between the trains and planes. However, even knowing that, we would definitely avoid visiting this airport!

Toncontin International Airport

The one benefit of this airport is that it is located pretty close to the rest of the town, so you can quickly get to the shops and other attractions if you need to. But perhaps it’s a little too close to town!

Image courtesy of Enrique Galeano Morales/Flickr

It’s no surprise that there have been quite a few accidents here over the last few years. The pilots have to make the plane take a sharp turn to avoid hitting the valleys, which is even worse in bad weather!

Gibraltar International Airport

This one is pretty ridiculous! Instead of having a railway go through the airport, there is an actual main street for the city running directly through the runway. This is a significant inconvenience and scary experience to go through for those driving a car!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/I, Jnpet/CC BY-SA 3.0

They have to simply be patient as they wait for the road to open again if planes are about to fly overhead. At least one positive is that Gibraltar is so beautiful. The scenery looks wonderful as you wait in the car!

Matekane Air Strip

So far, we have only seen commercial airports that are pretty dangerous – now it is time to see one that’s solely for private use. Looking at this picture, it should come as no surprise why this airport isn’t open to the public!

Image courtesy of eternallifestyle.com

The runway is on the very edge of a plunge of over 2000 feet! Thankfully, the runway is used mainly for emergency situations, such as for doctors who need to visit the neighboring villages. It certainly is scary stuff!

Midway International Airport

You might think that this airport being smaller than most airports works in its favor. After all, that surely reduces the risk of accidents. Unfortunately, the opposite is true – it is because it is small that it is so dangerous.

Image courtesy of mapquest.com

Many pilots who are unfamiliar with the site end up making mistakes when they land or take off, as the runways are noticeably smaller than most. This can sometimes have pretty serious consequences, such as in 2005 where many people were injured.

LaGuardia Airport

Being so close to the rest of New York, it comes as no surprise that LaGuardia Airport is so famous. It is constantly busy, and anyone touching down on the runway will get stunning views of the Big Apple.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Patrick Handrigan/CC BY-SA 4.0

Unfortunately, it is not all smooth sailing for the pilots who are flying the plane! Having such a busy airport means that the sky is difficult to navigate. Pilots must be highly skilled to ensure the safety of the aircraft.

John Wayne Airport

Having an airport so close to the city can cause various problems. Pilots have to make sure they avoid going near any buildings, and they must also follow strict noise pollution rules. At John Wayne, it isn’t an easy task!

Image courtesy of Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times and travelcostamesa.com

Before pulling back on the engines, these pilots must ensure that the plane’s throttle is at maximum. This can make things uncomfortable for the passengers on board, with some of them saying it feels like taking off in a space shuttle.

Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport

If anyone out there is looking for a relatively cheap, thrilling adventure, then we certainly recommend going to visit this airport. It’s built so close to the road and nearby cities that pedestrians can look right up at it, close and personal.

Image courtesy of greekcitytimes.com

We definitely would not recommend doing this, though – it looks so close that you might get sucked in! Many people enjoy taking photos of the planes as they stand this close, but we think we would be too afraid.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport

This airport has so many different issues that we are honestly surprised it has not been shut down already. It is very close to the tallest mountain in the world, featuring a drop of over 2000 feet near the runway.

Image courtesy of Petr Meissner/Flickr

If that was not enough, the location of the airport means that there are frequent power cuts. This is not exactly comforting to know when the pilots need to have constant communication with air traffic controllers to be safe!

Tioman Airport

Only the most skilled pilots are capable of flying into this airport, as it is located right next to the mountains of Tioman Island in Malaysia. This requires a pretty sharp 90-degree maneuver to make sure the landing goes safely!

Image courtesy of pulautioman.de and www.ibtimes.co.uk

There’s also the risk of the cliff. If the pilots don’t land the plane quickly, it could shoot off over the edge! We are really surprised that this airport is still open and we would not recommend visiting here.

Kai Tak Ai Airport

One positive thing about this dangerous airport is that it actually closed down in 1998. This was after a number of serious accidents and dangerous incidents at the airport, caused by the city being next door to the airport.

Image courtesy of Birdy Chu/inkstonenews.com and Christian Hanuise/jetphotos.com

The view was pretty impressive, but being so close to so many skyscrapers made things increasingly difficult for the pilots. If that was not enough, there were also numerous mountains and strong winds. We doubt it will reopen soon.

Aspen County Airport

One common thing that we have seen with a lot of these airports is that they are located pretty close to mountains, and Aspen Country Airport is no exception! What makes it so dangerous is not just the sheer height.

Image courtesy of uncovercolorado.com and worldtravelling.com

Having so many mountains nearby means lots of strong wind, so it quickly becomes very difficult for pilots to keep their planes steady in this weather. Our hats go off to anyone who is able to land somewhere like this.

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport

The Antilles islands are known for their stunning beauty and calming scenery. But we think that they should also be known for having a terrifying runway, too! This one is extremely risky for all pilots, whether they’re experienced or novice.

Image courtesy of Amazing Planet/YouTube

Locals even advise tourists to go by ferry to their destinations instead of taking a plane because it is so scary! The runway is one of the shortest in the world and ends with a sheer drop of a cliff.

Narsarsuaq Airport

This airport is one of a few extremes. On the one hand, you have icy weather from the fjords nearby that cause enough problems on their own. Then, there is also the volcano that is still active and occasionally erupts!

Image courtesy of greenland.com

The ice can cause severe visibility issues, while the ash from the volcano can get into the plane’s engines and make them stop working. Both of these are pretty serious problems that we do not fancy risking for ourselves!

Sitka Rocky Guiterrez Airport

Here is another natural problem that pilots can face – birds. As this Alaskan airport is located near the sea, there are numerous birds that call the area their home. This can cause major issues for pilots landing or taking off.

Image courtesy of flyinvacations.com

The rocks that the airport is built on can also slip, and boulders frequently roll over the runway. Being so close to water also increases the risk of flooding and severe weather disasters. It is a no from us!

Catalina Airport

At least we can say that this airport is firmly on land and not water! It is also known as the “Airport in the Sky” because it is found 1,602 feet up a mountain. This creates strong wind and turbulence.

Image courtesy of flightclub805.com

And that is not all! Because the edge of each runway is a sheer drop, pilots who land here cannot see if another plane is heading towards them. As you might expect, this is pretty dangerous and causes many issues.

Courchevel International Airport

Here is another mountain airport. This one is located in the French Alps. It might not be the highest one on the list at ‘only’ 1,700 feet, but it has other problems instead. The mountain slopes downward at approximately 18.5%!

Image courtesy of airplane-pictures.net and Wikimedia/Hugues Mitton (hugovoyages)/CC BY-SA 2.5

As you might expect, this makes things pretty hard for pilots if they want to take off! They should feel thankful to see it. When the weather is at its worst, the airport’s lighting system turns off, meaning no visibility!

Congonhas Airport

Just what is it about building an airport in the center of a city?! You would think that one time would be enough, but this is definitely not the only example of strange city planning on this list! It looks like they don’t learn.

Image courtesy of escape.com.au  

This airport in São Paulo also has one of the shortest runways in the world, which just adds a further challenge to any pilot who is trying to take off or land. There are also many skyscrapers to avoid, too!

Barra Island

All you need to do is look at the pictures of this airport to see how different it is from most other airports in the world. Instead of taking off on land, the pilots must steer the planes off the sand!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Steve Houldsworth/CC BY-SA 2.0 and thetravel.com

The situation is even worse when the tide is high, as the runways go underwater. It is so risky that pilots are not allowed to land at the airport during the night. We are honestly not surprised at this!

MCAS Futenma Okinawa

So far, we have mostly seen airports that pose a danger to the pilots or passengers aboard the planes. For this airport, it is actually the people living nearby that are in the greatest danger. Can you guess why?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Sonata/CC BY-SA 3.0

Houses and apartments are so close to the airport that it is rather unlikely that these people could be evacuated in time in the case of an emergency. We sincerely hope that everything stays safe at this airport in particular.

The Ice Runway

You might be surprised to find that there is actually an airport in Antarctica. What is less surprising is that it can be found on the ice! It is the only way for pilots to get to the island.

Image courtesy of icewings.net

However, we are not sure why they chose this location in particular. The ice is only four inches thick! Any planes that aim to land here must not be too heavy. In the winter, there is no light at all.

Madang Airport

If you consider taking a trip to Papua New Guinea, we strongly recommend you check out the airport before you arrive. Many of the airports there have runways ending on the edge, especially in the middle of a random place.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/K. Winarske – Privat/GPL

One of the most famous of these runways is the one found at Madang Airport. The runway quite literally leads off the edge of the water in the middle of a field! We imagine it feels more like a rollercoaster than a plane trip.

Madeira Airport

Most people think that the island of Madeira is a dream, but looking at this picture, we think that it is more of a nightmare! The airport is very close to the ocean, and the runway is too close to cliffs.

Image courtesy of Miguel Claudio/airliners.net

As a result of these dangers, it should be no surprise that not every pilot is licensed to fly here. Only those with a ton of experience and braveness are able to tackle the challenges this airport has to offer.

Yeager Airport

It’s now time for another mountain airport! This time, it is found in West Virginia, on top of a flattened mountain. As this runway has cliffs on either side, it takes a lot of skill to get the landing just right.

Image courtesy of Charleston Home And Living

Only a decade ago, there was an incident where a pilot overestimated the length of the runway. They almost went over the edge of the cliff. Thankfully, they stopped just in time, and there was no loss of life.

Reagan National Airport

We have seen quite a few natural problems for pilots to overcome in the entries so far, but what about human problems? Reagan National Airport is the perfect example of this as it is very close to multiple ‘no-fly’ zones.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/United States Geological Survey (USGS)/Public Domain

Pilots must keep a careful eye on what they are doing to make sure they do not overstep the boundaries in the sky. There is also the White House to watch out for! All around, this is a tough job.

Agatti Airport

From the picture, this looks like a pretty beautiful island. But do not let this image fool you – it is actually a rather scary place! Agatti Island is a long but thin island, making things strange on the runway.

Image courrtesy of walkthroughindia.com

There is almost no land on the sides, so pilots who are taking off or landing here quite literally have no other place to go! On the positive side, we bet that the view is absolutely breathtaking, to say the least.

Svalbard Airport

This airport is another example of how looks can be deceiving. The mountains nearby look quite stunning, but they actually cause several problems for the pilots. The biggest involves the water that comes rolling down from the mountains.

Image courtesy of airliners.net

If this melts in hotter temperatures, the entire airport will collapse! To fix this problem, the constructors of the airport built the site entirely on permafrost. We sincerely hope that this keeps the airport safe and secure for all!

Gustaf III Airport

You might think that your safest bet is to not go on any planes at all. Unfortunately, you would be wrong there! This runway is so close to the beach and nearby buildings that it can be quite risky.

Image courtesy of worldtravelling.com

The planes fly directly over the heads of anyone relaxing at the beach, which is enough to make things less peaceful. The runway also starts near a sloped edge that poses another challenge for the pilots taking off or landing.

Princess Juliana International Airport

Here is another example of an airport that is a little too close to the beach! Anyone looking for an interesting social media photo should definitely take a trip here, though be prepared to get messy from all the sand.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Lawrence Lansing/CC BY 3.0

The pilots have to fly low because they have to stay as close to the water as possible. This site is a perfect example of how social media is not everything. The photo is definitely not worth the risk!

Paro Airport

You may wonder why there’s no way to catch a night flight to this airport in Bhutan. The runway is located in a very small area close to some mountains. As a result, pilots must turn their planes approximately 45-degrees.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Doug Knuth/CC BY-SA 2.0
 

Because of this danger, airport officials only allow planes to take off or land during the daytime when visibility is at its best. As it is so dangerous, only 17 pilots in the world are qualified to use this site.

Telluride Regional Airport

This airport has the honor of being the commercial airport with the highest height in the whole of the United States. That is still not enough for us to want to visit it, though – just look at that drop!

Image courtesy of uncovercolorado.com

It is over 1000 feet on either side, which is definitely enough to make you feel like you are plummeting down on a rollercoaster. Bonus fact: the airport itself is actually over nine thousand feet in the air!

San Diego International Airport

This airport has many dangers in the vicinity. To the south, there is Mexican airspace that pilots must be careful to avoid. Around the eastern and northern directions, mountains cover the landscape. As we’ve already seen, they’re not the only issues…

Image courtesy of nbcsandiego.com and loveaviation.co.uk

High mountains mean strong winds that can significantly affect a pilot’s control of the plane. Because of all these risks, sometimes pilots have to take off or land one after the other. It seems like a pretty scary airport indeed!

Kansai International Airport

There are a few islands in the world that are considered ‘man-made’ as they have been constructed by people, and Osaka Bay is an example of this. However, we definitely think that they could have chosen a better location!

Image courtesy of Inside Kyoto

The airport often experiences natural disasters like cyclones, earthquakes, and typhoons. These can cause major flooding at the airport, which leads to numerous cancellations. We do not think that it is worth visiting the airport with all these dangers!

Carnevalli Airport

If you take a trip to Merida in Venezuela, you will probably find yourself landing at this airport, which can be found in a valley right between the Andes mountains. The dangers of this place are evident without mentioning.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Juan Ponce/Public Domain

There have been quite a few serious incidents at the airport involving planes crashing or missing the runway entirely over the years. Our hearts go out to those affected by these accidents, and we hope they never happen again.

Queenstown Airport

Queenstown in New Zealand is easily one of the most beautiful places in the world, but this airport certainly is not! You can find it in between a series of high mountains and, you guessed it, lots of strong wind.

Image courtesy of Steve1420/Flickr

The area is also prone to lots of bad weather, which can cause serious visibility issues for the pilots trying to land or take off here. You should probably rethink your travel plans or itinerary if you decide to visit.

Wellington Airport

If that was not enough for you, there is also another airport in New Zealand that suffers from similar problems, too! Wellington Airport quite literally starts and ends in the sea instead of being in the mountains like Queenstown Airport.

Image courtesy of megaconstrucciones.net

Of course, this means that strong winds often battle with the pilots as they try to steer the planes. In 2007, the winds were so strong that a plane actually flipped upside down while it was on the runway. Scary stuff!

Don Mueang International Airport

A lot of people like playing golf because they think that it is a calming sport, and it is perfect for relaxing. There is nothing relaxing about this golf course, though, as it is right next to an airport!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Andre Wadman/GFDL 1.2

It is not just one, but two golf courses that are on the airport’s doorstep! We wonder just how many times the golf balls have ended up going inside one of the plane’s engines. We reckon that it’s a lot!

Copalis State Airport

A fun fact about this airport is that it is the only coast in Washington where a plane can take off or land on. However, we have no idea why anyone would want to do this. Look at the picture!

Image courtesy of JustPlaneBen/YouTube

You can find the airport along the sandy coast near the Copalis River. The views almost make up for the sheer danger of landing on the sand, though we would still rather not take a risk trying it for ourselves.

Bangda Airport

This airport wins the award for being the highest airport in the world at a staggering 14200 feet! The airport has just one runway, which is also one of the longest runways in the world. That’s a number of achievements!

Image courtesy of tibettravel.org

You will not find it easy to go shopping here though, as the nearest town is over 2-and-a-half hours by car! Because of this, it is no wonder that Bangda Airport is also called “the loneliest airport in the world.”

Saba Airport

You might recognize this airport from the films, as it was the island for the original King Kong movie. We recommend that you take a ferry from it because the airport has one of the shortest runways in the world!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Fyodor Borisov/CC BY-SA 3.0

There are also the jagged cliffs and sharp inclines to take into consideration as well, so it is not a surprise that only the most experienced pilots are qualified to fly their planes here. We have no idea why they’d want to!