What goes up must come – we all know the cliché.
Airplanes flying off traditional runways need somewhere to land. More often than nought, chartered airplanes take-off and land on the conventional tarmac of generic airports. There’s nothing really distinct about the process.
Some aircraft transport people to remote locations with vivid landscapes. In those cases, the airport itself becomes an experience. Whether it’s the airport architecture, land, or the environment, spectators marvel at these airports.
Then there’s airports where you cling to your seat in fear for your life during take-off and landing.
We’ve collected a list of interesting airports from around the world. It would be a privilege to touch down on some of these airports, and it wouldn’t be so pleasant to land on some others.
Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be seeing some of these airports first hand.
Tenzing–Hillary Airport, Nepal
Mount Everest, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is the largest mountain above sea-level. Most revere its beauty from afar, but a few seek the glory of conquering it.
Mount Everest poses immense danger to all daring to scale its peak. Hundreds lost their lives aspiring to accomplish this great feat. If climbing this 29 thousand foot mountain isn’t risky enough, why not add a life threatening flight to get there?
Tenzing–Hillary Airport, located in eastern Nepal, is where most people start camp to climb Mount Everest. Nepali authorities named the airport after the first two men to reach Mount Everest’s summit: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Both individuals contributed to the construction of this airport in 1964.
The Tenzing-Hillary stands 9,334 feet high. This airport is tiny. There’s only one runway for aircraft both taking-off and landing. The high elevation and steep angled drops at both ends of the short 525 foot runway intimidate some pilots and passengers to avoid this airport altogether.
In 2010, the History Channel proclaimed the Tenzing-Hillary the most dangerous airport in over two decades.
On occasion, this airport closes its facilities from heavy rain, cloud cover, and high winds. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal only regulates experienced pilots to use this airport. The requirements include 100 short take-off and landing missions for at least a year in Nepal. Nepali and civil police constantly monitor the Tenzing-Hillary.
Toncontin Airport, Honduras
The Toncontin Airport, in Honduras, presents challenges for all pilots attempting to land. The origins of the name Toncontin is unclear, but many suspect the name derives from the Aztec term Tocotin, a revered traditional dance.
On January 5, 1934, this airport welcomed the landing of its first plane. This military and public Central American airport encountered its fair share of conflict since then.
In 1969, Honduras and El Salvador collided in the Football War. Political tensions wedged between both countries and it all culminated after riots from a FIFA qualifying series. The Salvadoran Air Force bombed the Toncontin International Airport several times. A ceasefire eventually ended the conflict.
The History Channel ranked the Toncontin Airport as the second most dangerous airport in the world. Pilots must perform a 45 degree turn into a short runway to avoid the surrounding mountains.