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The World’s Most Dangerous Airports

Rough Landing


If you’re looking to plan your Christmas vacation, you might want to think twice before flying into any of these nine airports ... delays could be the least of your problems.

Photo Credit: complexify.

Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi


Foreign Policy magazine ranked India's busiest airport as one of the worst in the world in 2007 and not very much has changed since then. In the last week alone, there has been a bomb scare that turned out to be a security drill, and a Pakistani spy arrested at the airport. Oh, and did we mention that “fog season” just started up, so you can expect your pilot to have plenty of visibility issues.

Photo Credit: WikiCommons.org

Kai Tak International Airport, Hong Kong


Most airports are located in the middle of nowhere, which can be annoying when it comes to finding transportation to wherever your hotel may be. But if you've ever wished that the airport could be in the city you're visiting, Kai Tak will quickly change your mind. This airport was located in the middle of Hong Kong, so airplanes flew incredibly close to the buildings and flood the streets with incredible noise, making for a terrifying landing. The airport has since closed, but we wanted to include it for nostalgia's sake, and also as an excuse to include this amazing video of planes landing at Kai Tak.

Photo Credit: youtube.com

Newark Liberty International, New Jersey


I don’t want to take pot shots at New Jersey here (my editor happens to live there), but I’ll just say it didn’t exactly surprise me to hear that this state has one of the worst airports in the world.

Newark was ranked as the worst airport in America by Travel + Leisure, the Daily Beast and other publications. Recently, a Newark air traffic controller came out and argued that the airport’s intersecting runways have resulted in several close calls with landing planes. As if that weren’t bad enough, nearly half of all flights are delayed at Newark.

Photo Credit: WikiCommons.org

Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten


The picture definitely does most of the explaining for us. This airport is located on the island of St. Maarten and features a single runway that’s barely more than 7,000 feet long and starts just a few feet from the coastline. Because the runway is almost impossibly short for most larger planes, they usually start their descent early and fly extremely low over the beach. Hence, the picture. So far, however, there have been no accidents on landing.

Photo Credit: steve conry

Baghdad International Airport, Iraq


Flying into a war zone is never a great idea, but tourism to Baghdad has increased in recent years as the country has become a bit more stable. Still, the city’s main airport is far from safe.

Air & Space magazine declared this the most dangerous airport in the world. Insurgents on the ground occasionally target incoming planes with missiles. As a result, pilots typically rely on a risky downward spiral landing called the corkscrew maneuver. It’s the kind of thing that will make you lose your lunch by the time you actually hit the tarmac. But as Air & Space notes, “Before jumping out of your seat to complain to the pilot, consider the good news: You’ve just avoided being shot down by a missile. Welcome to Baghdad International Airport.”

Photo Credit: defense.gov

Mineralnye Vody Airport, Russia


This Russian airport may not have a dangerous runway, but it is notorious for what goes on inside the terminal. Foreign Policy reported that you will find Russians hawking daggers and “feral cats” roaming around. Sounds like a wholesome time for the entire family.

Photo Credit: WikiCommons.org

Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, Colorado


Dozens of people have been killed in landing accidents at this Colorado airport. The airport is nestled in the Rocky Mountains, which, though beautiful, often forces pilots to make risky “high angle descents.” Recently, a private jet crashed, killing 18 people, when it tried to land in this airport during bad weather, despite the fact that the pilot was said to be familiar with the airport, having landed there several times before.

Photo Credit: WikiCommons.org

Lukla Airport, Nepal


The Lukla Airport is also located in the mountains, this time in the Himalayas in Nepal. The airport is nearly 3,000 meters above ground and surrounded by sharp peaks, and the runway is dangerously short. The steep landing has resulted in several accidents.

One passenger recently described the descent as similar to “flying into a milk bottle.” On the bright side, landing here is a good way to get a rush of adrenaline before you start your climb of Mount Everest.

Check here for a video of a plane landing in this airport.

Photo Credit: WikiCommons.org

Heathrow Airport, London


Heathrow may not be as deadly as some of the other airports on this list, but it is the most hated airport bar none. In 2007, it was ranked the most despised airport in a survey of 2,500 travelers by TripAdvisor.com, and it retained that rank this year in a different survey by Prioritypass.com, thanks to excessive delays.

That might not sound dangerous, but with so many frustrated and angry people in one place for hours, who knows what could happen?

Photo Credit: maxf

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