These are the 7 scariest and most dangerous airports to land at in the world

From runways on beaches to runways made of solid glacial ice, these are the 7 scariest and most dangerous airports to take off from and land at in the world.

by | Published on 17th Jun 2023

Taking off and landing are the deadliest parts of a flight. 

It’s the shortest part of the journey, but a lot can go wrong in the blink of an eye. 

In fact, 14 percent of plane accidents happen during take-off and 49 percent happen during the descent and as the plane touches down. 

From runways on beaches to runways made of solid glacial ice, these are the seven scariest and most dangerous airports in the world.

You can watch our Xplained vid here!

7. Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport in Portugal 

Only a limited number of pilots are qualified to fly here because the crazy crosswinds are so dangerous. 

The airport is surrounded by the ocean on one side and high mountains on the other, so planes have to deal with the Atlantic wind and the mountain draft. 

After two very serious accidents, the short runway was expanded to 2,781 meters. 

So, while it’s still a challenge to land here, there haven’t been any accidents since 1977.

6. Troll Airfield in Antarctica

This runway sits on a glacier and is literally made of hard blue ice. 

The surface of the runway is also sometimes damaged by cracks in the glacier and ice movement, so it needs constant monitoring and maintenance.

Check out just how rural, and icy this place is:

5. Courchevel International Airport in France

This airport is tucked away in the French Alps and serves the ski resort in Courchevel. 

While it looks picture-perfect, a couple of factors make this airport incredibly dangerous for pilots to navigate. 

For one, the airport is at an altitude of over 2,000 meters and is also surrounded by mountains, so the wind can get crazy. 

Secondly, the runway isn’t flat, it has an 18.5 percent slope upwards.

This helps planes slow down while landing, but it makes taking off extremely tricky – especially because the runway is already very short, measuring only 537 meters.

4. St. Barts’ Gustav III Airport in the Caribbean

This runway is on the island of Saint Barthelemy and it’s wild. 

Planes have a pretty steep descent to the runway and that’s because it’s at the bottom of a hill. 

This means planes need to get super close to the cars and people on the ground as they come in to land.

But that doesn’t stop tourists from trying to take pictures as they approach.

3. Princess Juliana International Airport on St. Marteens Island 

You’ve probably seen those insane videos of planes flying just a few feet above sunbathers. 

That’s because Maho Beach is located right at the edge of the Princess Juliana International Airport runway. 

The runway is just over 2,000 meters long, so planes are forced to approach it at an extremely low altitude. 

When the planes land and take off, they produce massive gusts of wind. 

And despite warnings, tourists basically line up to get blown away.