Those who are scared of flying might want to look away now. I’m going to show you the 10 most dangerous airports in the world – and yes, they are actually in use! Some of them are even located in heavenly holiday destinations, like the Caribbean…

Some tourists extremely look forward to their upcoming, well-earned beach holiday – but not the flight there. Fear of flying can spoil the anticipation of many a holiday maker. But my dear readers, should you be one of those passengers who really doesn’t enjoy the flight, then take a look at the ten most dangerous airports in the world, it’ll show you that things could always be worse when it comes to flying. Here, it’s not the flight that you should be scared of, it’s the landing! So, sit back and enjoy your flight – as long as you’re not landing at one of the most dangerous airports in the world, that is.

Here are the most dangerous airports in the world

Saba | Bhutan | St. Maarten | Tegucigalpa | Lukla | St. Barths

Gibraltar | Courchevel | Funchal | São Paulo

dangerous airports
St. Maarten Airport – Photo: Multiverse / Shutterstock.com

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport in Saba, the Caribbean

An airport actually shouldn’t have been built in Saba as there was simply no suitable place for it. Every place proposed was deemed too dangerous. Well, that was until the mayor of St. Barths made a private landing on the area where Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is now located. After that landing, Saba’s airport was built on that very spot. The reasoning was that if it worked once, it will work again. We can be thankful that nothing bad has happened here yet as one side of the runway leads up to a mountain as well as both ends of it leading directly into the sea. So there’s no possibility of the plane taxiing to a standstill in the case of an emergency. I must admit, even your travel-loving HolidayGuru isn’t too keen on this landing!

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Paro Airport in Bhutan, South Asia

2234 meters above sea level, you’ll find Bhutan’s only international airport. As this airport is also located in a deep valley, take offs and landings are only possible in good weather. Additionally, only experienced pilots are allowed to land here as the approach is classed as being very difficult. After all, the runway here is just 2 kilometres long, and up until 1990 it was only 1.4 km long.

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Princess Juliana International Airport in Saint Maarten, the Caribbean

Those who want to swim or sunbathe here will have to have nerves of steel. I’m of course referring to the beach located right next to Princess Juliana International Airport in Saint Maarten. The majority of beach holidaymakers aren’t scared of the enormous jets coming into land just 10 metres above their heads, they actually eagerly await them and hang on tightly to the fence next to the runway to withstand the extreme winds created by the engines of the plane. So, I think we’re in agreement that it looks quite dangerous, right?

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Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Even though the runway has been extended a little, Toncontín Airport, the international airport of Honduras’ capital, is still regarded as one of the most challenging airports in the world. It lies 1000m above sea level and is also located between two high mountains. I imagine that this airport isn’t the favourite runway of many pilots, especially as you have to land at a somewhat steeper angle than normal.

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Photo: flikr.com/aeortiz (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Tenzing–Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal

Okay, for those who are courageous enough and trust themselves to conquer Mount Everest, this airport probably won’t be so frightening. For people who want to visit this region, the Tenzing–Hillary Airport is the only option. The runway is only 527 metres long and at the end of it is a 600-metre drop. The thought of it alone is enough to make many people queasy.

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Gustaf III Airport in St. Barths, the Caribbean

Yes, the runway on the Caribbean island of St. Barths may look truly beautiful, however, the landing is anything but safe. Situated between mountains and the sea, it is just 640 metres long. The lengths we go to to get to one of the prettiest and most luxurious islands in the world! The people that visit this Caribbean island generally have enough money to get a private and very experienced pilot. Lucky them.

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Gibraltar Airport, Gibraltar

Let me put it this way, it’s a little bit cramped in Gibraltar. Therefore, the airport’s runway had to be built on Winston Churchill Avenue, the only road that leads to Spain. There’s no other crossing like this in the world. Just like with a level crossing, on takeoff and landing the street is simply closed. It’s a bit unorthodox but necessary as Gibraltar needed its own airport, that’s probably what the people thought.

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Courchevel Altiport, France

A place that was used twice as a filming location for the James Bond films must have something special about it, right? And yes, we’re talking about the airport in the heart of the ski area of Courchevel. It’s not just that it’s special and extraordinary, it’s also one of the most dangerous airports. Those flying here need nerves of steel as the runway in the heart of the French region of Rhônes-Alpes is very short and is situated 2000 metres above sea level.

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Funchal Airport in Madeira, Portugal

Pilots need special training for this airport on the flower island of Madeira as the landing here is anything but simple due to the airport’s location on a steep coastal hillside. Here, the pilot’s task is to compensate for the down draughts and tackle a sharp right turn. This shouldn’t be a problem for experienced pilots, nevertheless, many passengers are in awe as the plane comes into land. Depending on the strength of the wind, it can actually get very shaky!

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Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, Brazil

Congonhas Airport is situated in the heart of a residential area and there are many residential buildings in close proximity to it. When the airport was opened in 1936, São Paulo wasn’t the megacity it is today. Today, only internal flights land here as São Paulo got another, much safer international airport in 1985 which is much more pleasant for passengers as well as local residents.

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Photo: istock.com/FernandoPodolski

What do you reckon? Would you be able to stay relaxed or would a landing at one of these dangerous airports give you the jitters? Our world never fails to amaze me. Stick around, I’m always writing about the most bizarre, spectacular and beautiful places in the world!

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