The infamous Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong was shut down in 1998 due to its hair-raising landings. But many other dangerous airports known for difficult landings and fatal accidents are still in use today. Here are 15 of the world's most dangerous airports that the faint-hearted should avoid.
Often called "the world's most dangerous airport," the Lukla Airport sits on one side of a mountain in the Himalayas, with a 1,729-foot sloped runway facing a 2,000-foot-deep valley. Pilots are only permitted to fly helicopters and small fixed-wing propeller aircraft here.
Can you tell that this is an airport? The Courchevel Airport actually serves a ski resort, and only small aircraft are permitted to land and take off. Its uncommonly short upsloping runway makes it hard for airplanes to land.
Located only 200 feet away from the Maho public beach, the Princess Juliana International Airport has earned recognition for its low-flying aircraft. However, the landings at the airport can be fatal for both the passengers and the thrill-seekers on the beach.
The Agatti Airport is the only gateway to the 36 islands of the Lakshadweep archipelago. Fortunately, pilots will soon be able to switch to larger airplanes because a plan to extend the 4,000-foot-long runway has been approved. However, the airport is still threatened by coastal erosion and rising sea levels.
Built on the edge of the Caribbean island of Saba, the Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport has the world's shortest commercial runway. The abrupt landings at the 1,300-foot-long landing strip will make you grab your armrests.
Like many other airports on this list, the Gustaf III Airport only serves small aircraft. The high hilltop makes it hard for the planes to descend smoothly. Grab onto your seats if you want to visit the beautiful Island of St. Barts.
Subject to strong ocean winds, airplanes must make a 150-degree right-head turn before landing at the Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport. But with solid pillars and a long runway, the airport guarantees a safe landing.
Because there's no flat and large clearing on the Island of Skiathos, it has become a challenge for aircraft to land. That's why many tourists prefer to visit the island by boat.
With its 4,000-foot-long runway built on ice, the Svalbard Airport is the northernmost airport in the world. However, due to global warming, it remains a question as to whether the airport will stay open.
Located at the northeastern tip of Barra island, the Barra International Airport is the only airport in the world that uses the beach as an airstrip. Only specially trained pilots can handle the precarious landing.
This civil and military airport is situated in a mountainous area, only 3.7 miles from the center of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Pilots must make necessary arrangements to prevent them from hitting the nearby mountains.
The Kansai International Airport is located on an artificial island connected to Osaka by a bridge. Glorious as it is, the airport is in danger of sinking because of the rising sea level.
Entirely made of solid and compacted snow, the runway at the McMurdo Station can be pretty scary and slippery. Moreover, when polar nights occur in winter, pilots have to maneuver the airplanes in the dark.
Strong winds, possible volcanic eruptions, and occasional drifting icebergs near the Narsarsuaq Airport make the flight to Greenland a thrilling one. However, at least you can enjoy the gorgeous fjords around the airport.
Surrounded by 1,000-foot cliffs, the Telluride Regional Airport is the highest commercial airport in the U.S.. Passengers can take in the gorgeous views amid the San Juan mountains despite the occasional vertical turbulence.