Top 10 World’s Most Dangerous Aircraft Runways


Flying a plane is a challenging enough task, but landing it on one of these runways will certainly have even the most experienced pilot double checking himself. Ever landed at one of these airports? Let us know your experience in comments.

10. Qamdo Bamda Airport, Tibet


This airport is located in Bamda, Tibet. This airport is considered the world’s highest with an elevation of 4,334 meters. The runway is also the longest public runway. But the thin air at the high altitude makes it a challenge for the engines to generate enough thrust and tests even the greatest pilot’s skills.

9. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba Island

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This runway is only 400 meters and ends with a steep drop to the sea and is also flanked by high hills on one side. The runway is so dangerous that it has been closed to traffic but the Civil Aviation Authority does make some exceptions.

8. Gustaf III Airport, Saint Barthelemy

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The runway ends at a beach and is so short that it can only handle small aircraft with 20 passengers or less. The runway is also on the base of a slope, so planes have to exercise caution during the approach due to hilltop traffic. The planes take off right over the tops of the heads of people sun bathing on the beach.

7. Ice Runway, Antarctica

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This United States owned runway is used by the country during the summer season. The runway can handle wheeled aircraft as large as the Boeing 757. The surface is stable according to pilots. However, the problem is when the plane comes to a stop and sinks into the ice by a few inches.

6. Courchevel Airport, France

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The 525 meter long runway lacks instrument approach procedures, making it difficult for pilots to land aircraft during fog or low clouds. Currently, the runway only handles small aircraft and helicopters and has an elevation of 6,588 meters.

5. Barra International Airport, Scotland

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The Barra International Airport is the only airport in the world which uses a beach as runway. The runway actually floods with water during high tide and hence, flights have to be scheduled according to the tide. The three short runways are arranged to form a triangle marked by wooden poles.

4. Toncontin International Airport, Honduras

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The short runway serves both military and civilian aircraft. The airport is surrounded by mountain terrain and efforts have been made to extend the runway’s length beyond its current 2,163 meter length (which is significantly shorter than runways of other international airports).

3. Tenzing Hillary Airport, Nepal

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Located in the place where hikers begin their journey to the base camp of Mount Everest, this runway is almost always beset with high winds and low clouds which obstruct visibility. The runway is short, with a length of 460 meters and can handle small aircraft and helicopters. The difficult terrain means that landing planes use one runway while those taking off use another.

2. Madeira Airport, Portugal

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Surrounded by the sea and high mountains, this runway was once half the length that it is today. The Portuguese authorities used amazing engineering skills to double the length of the runway using 180, 70 meter tall columns without reclaiming any land from the sea.

1. Gibraltar International Airport, Gibraltar

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While other airports had a difficult natural environment which made it tough to pilot the aircrafts, this runway intersects with a main road that is bustling with traffic. The Winston Churchill Avenue is the main road leading to Spain and traffic on this road has to be stopped every time a plane has to take off or land.



  1. tshetem Reply

    Hay!!u hav missed out paro international airport….air bus lands there

  2. Kenny Rogers Reply

    I have survived a landing and takeoff on Saba Island and promised never again. The fligh seems to come in on very edge of runway actually landing first on one wheel only before straightening out. The takeoff is shear terror as the plane seems to drop off the cliff before gaining altitude. You know something is up when you see locals wearing T Shirts that say “I survived the Landing at Saba Airport” .

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