Did you know that there are certain airports constructed in the world that can be extremely hazardous? There are many airports in the world that have been marked as the most dangerous airports. Know more about which are these airports and why have they been marked dangerous and critical?

1. Lakshadweep Airport

One of the most beautiful islands that connect to India is the Lakshadweep Islands. The island is home to only a single airport called the Agatti Aerodrome. The airport is well-connected to the Cochin International Airport, which is also the only connected airport at present. The airport is located in the union territory of Lakshadweep, the Agatti Island and was constructed between 1987-1988 and was inaugurated on April 16, 1988. It spreads up to an area of around 45.9 acres and is etched at an elevation of 14 feet above the sea level. The Agatti Airport entertains flights from other cities such as Kochi, Mangalore, Kozhikode and Mysore.

Why is the Lakshadweep Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

The sole airport of thirty-six Indian Islands is considered as one of the most dangerous airports in the world. The reason behind it being dangerous is the tiny price of the land strip that is surrounded by the sea blue waters of the Arabian sea. The strip is measured around to be just 4,000 feet long. However, there has been continuous talks about the strip’s extension over the years. But was later scrapped as the authorities feared that the spot would become a nesting spot for turtles.

2. Tenzing Hillary Airport

The town of Lukla in Nepal is one of the most remote tourist spots in the world. This location can only be reached by flights. The flights hail from Kathmandu and other domestic airports. As there is no concrete path to the town, travellers will have to either take a flight or trek their way to the spot. Hence, visitors land at the Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal. The airport is etched at an elevation of 2,860 meters that have been carved from a mountain. It was built in 1965 by Sir Edmund Hillary who was a mountaineer and was the first person to reach the summit of the mighty Mount Everest. Currently, Nepal airport comes under the busiest airports. It is mostly visited by people who wish to climb Everest and avoid taking a bus trip and five days of the trek. 

Why is the Tenzing Hillary Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

This charming Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla airport has been named as one of the most dangerous airports in the world. Many flights operate frequently between Kathmandu and Lukla. Built-in 1964, the airlines flying up to the airport have to go through the difficulties of adjusting because of the unpredictable weather. Adding to it is the uneven runway that measures up to only 1729 feet (an average of 6000 feet is ideal). Therefore, only light aircraft can fly on this airport that is flown by experienced pilots.

3. Mangalore International Airport

The Mangalore International Airport is the second busiest airport of Karnataka. On 25th December 1951, the airport was named Bajpe Aerodrome as it is located near Bajpe. It was this very airport where the first prime minister’s aircraft (Douglas DC-3) landed. The international airport has been laid on top of a hill that has two tabletop runways. There are only two more Indian airports that have tabletop runways (Kozhikode and Lengpui). Before becoming an international airport, the Mangalore Airport was used for a few domestic flights from Mumbai and Bangalore.

Why is the Mangalore International Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

Mangalore International Airport has emerged as one of the most dangerous AIrports in the world after the unforgettable incident of 2010. During that accident, the Air India Express that was scheduled for Dubai to Mangalore crashed and ended up killing 160 people that were on board. The reason behind the crash was said to be due to the plane overshooting on the runway, touching down at the end of the landing strip, then skewed into a concrete structure that clipped a wing off the plane and further divided into a valley. After the accident, the airport came under a lot of scrutiny for its hilltop location.

4. Paro International Airport

The famous Paro International Airport of Bhutan is the lone international airport of Bhutan. The airport stretches up to 6 kilometres from Paro to the banks of the river Paro Chhu that is surrounded by peaks of gigantic 18,000 feet height that usually make one feel as if the wingtip is about to touch the top of the mountains. The airport is accessible only by road, hence to reach Thimpu which is 54 kilometres away you will have to board a vehicle to reach. 

Why is the Paro International Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

The Paro International Airport is considered as one of the most challenging airports and few pilots are allowed to land at this airport. Flights that are scheduled to land or take-off from the airport are restricted to daytime hours only, from sunrise to sunset. Etched at an elevation of 1.5 miles, the flying aircraft have a tough task of flying above the mighty peaks and various houses that are located near the airport. Till mid-2011, only one airline, Druk Air was allowed to land or take-off from the Paro International airport. The runway is measured to be around 6,500 feet, quite shorter than the usual runways in the world and visible only after moments of landing. 

5. Pulau Tioman Airport 

The Tioman also known as Pulau Tioman Airport is located on the scenic Tioman Island in Pahang, Malaysia. The island forms an integral part of the chain of volcanic islands that together make up the Pahang Marine Park. The island covers an area of 39 kilometres in length and 12 kilometres in width. It is further inhabited by eight villages that also offer accommodation facilities for visitors. 

Why is the Pulau Tioman Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

Tioman Airport is considered as one of the most dangerous airports in the world. The landing at the airport is considered to be extremely scary as the pilots have to head straight for a mountain and then make a quick 90-degree turn to line up with the runway. The one-way landing has to be very fast as the end of the runway has a very steep cliff with a very steep fall into the waters. Hence, the planes here can only take off and land in one direction. The person operating around has to make the landing extremely fast, therefore only experienced pilots are required to operate. Further the size of the aeroplanes that can operate, therefore the cost per seat also goes higher.

6. Shimla Airport 

The Shimla Airport is located 22 kilometres away from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh in the town of Jubbarhatti. It has often been named as one of the most dangerous airports in India as well as the world. 

Why is the Shimla Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

The airport is surrounded by steep mountain ranges and a heavy rainy season all time of the year. Many people have affirmed that if the plane would skid or miss the runway, then it will directly lead to crashing into the mountains. The airport is etched at an elevation of 5,072 feet above sea level. It was built by cutting the crest of a long hill in the region. Many domestic flights such as Indian airlines and Jason Airlines operate here, but not many international flights. The length of the runway is measured to be around only 1200 metre that allows only small aircraft such as the 18-seat Dornier 228 to operate. Recently the State officials have also announced that they have raised the issue with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) several times for the possibility of expansion of the airstrip at Jubbarhatti (22 kilometres away) to facilitate safe landings of the aircraft. 

7. Calicut International Airport 

The Calicut International Airport is located in the Malappuram district of Kerala. The airport is located twenty-five kilometres away from the city of Kozhikode. It is known to be the operating base for Air India Express. It also operates Hajj Pilgrimage services to Medina and Jeddah from Kerala. Opened on 13th April 1988, the Kozhikode Calicut Airport is known to be the third-busiest airport in Kerala after Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. On 2nd February 2006, the airport received international status.

Why is the Calicut International Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

On the 7th August, 2020, the Kozhikode Calicut Airport witnessed a horrifying plane crash. The crash ended up killing at least 18 people on board and injuring over 100. The Air India Express IX-1344 was flying from Dubai, unfortunately, skidded off the runway, fell off the hillside 35 feet deep gorge which led to it splitting into two parts. As it is a table-top airport with just 2700 metres of the runway, the runways are fairly shorter that cannot be extended due to the sharp gorges on the ends. After four days of the accident, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation banned the operation of wide-body aircraft at the Karipur International Airport in Kozhikode.   

8. Kullu Airport

The Kullu Airport is located in Bhuntar, Himachal Pradesh is known to be one of the easiest ways through which you can reach Manali. It is a domestic airport and receives direct flights from Chandigarh, Delhi and Jubbar. 

Why is the Kullu Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

The Kullu Airport is considered as a challenging and dangerous airport due to its single runway that is surrounded by peaks which range up to several thousand feet (way higher than the runway). Located on the banks of the river Beas, earlier the area was prone to floods.  After the devastating 2010 Mangalore crash, the DGCA declared eleven airports as critical, one of them included the name of the Kullu airport. The runway of the airport is measured to be around 1,087 metres long. It only allows the landing of a small aircraft. The size and weight of the aircraft also play a crucial role as it will not be able to take off from the runway with all seats occupied. The reason behind this is with a full occupied airline it will not be able to achieve the required speed. With the Beas river flowing on the right side of the runway, surrounded by mountains, Kullu Airport is one of the most dangerous airports in the world.  

9. Don Mueang International Airport

The Don Mueang International Airport is one of the two major international airports that serve the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Earlier called the Bangkok International Airport, it is regarded as the world’s oldest international airports and Asia’s oldest operating airport. It was officially opened on the 27th March 1914. In 1924 it was opened for commercial flights as well. After a year of renovations in 2006, the Airport was reopened in March 2007.  In 2015, it also became the world’s largest low-cost carrier airport. 

Why is the Don Mueang International Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

When you look at it for a distance, you will notice that the airport looks like any other normal airport. But when you see it closely from a distance you will be amazed to spot that the very famous Don Mueang International Airport has a golf course exactly in the middle of the two runways. The airport was originally constructed for military operations but it now serves as an airport for just commercial airlines. Besides, the gold course in the centre has been barred for public access due to security and safety concerns. Many people can be heard saying how surreal the golf course location is and even if they dared or wished to opt for a golf session will be interrupted with an aeroplane flying just 20 yards away.

10.Lengpui Airport

 The Lengpui Airport is located in the capital of Mizoram, Aizawl. It is a domestic airport that connects to  Kolkata, Guwahati and Imphal. The Lengpui Airport is regarded as the first largest airport built by a state government in the entire Indian country. After taking a period of around two years (December 1995 to February 1998), the entire construction was completed. Its cost was around 979 million rupees and was expected to cater to around three hundred passengers. 

Why is the Lengpui Airport marked as a dangerous airport?

The runway of the Lengpui airport is stretched up to a distance of just 2,500 metres (Second longest runway in the Northeast). The airport has been supported by many hill trails beneath it. The airport is among the three airports in India that has a tabletop runway. Other airports being the Calicut International Airport in Kerala and the Mangalore International Airport in Mangalore. A tabletop runway usually creates an optical illusion that requires a very precise approach from the pilot and in most cases, the experience is what ensures utmost safety. The Tabletop runway is said to be the safest for landing an Airbus A320 or a mid cargo aircraft. The Lengpui Airport has also installed a Cat-I Instrument Landing System which will help planes land safely during low visibility conditions. A Runway safety area and Isolation parking bay are also said to be under construction. 

What is a table-top runway?

Tabletop runways are constructed on hilly or elevated terrain. Such airports are built in a way that there is a trench or a valley at the front and back of the length of the runway. This means that the tabletop runways are located on top of a hill or a plateau with deep gorges running down their sides. 

Why are table-top airports dangerous?

A tabletop runway has a dangerous start and end. Therefore the pilots operating on them need to have excellent training to land on them. They are affirmed to be hazardous despite the weather conditions. Another major reason is that the runways line up with the horizon and edge of the mountain that ends up creating an optical illusion that hides the drop. If pilots don’t have experience at a hilltop airport then there is a high possibility that they might misjudge the remaining length of the runway and accidentally overshoot. Aircraft that are proceeding to land need to be extra careful and ensure that they hit the exact mark to land that is not too early and also not too late. Therefore an accurate landing is very important as they can be very tricky and challenging for most experienced pilots too. In such conditions, the slightest lapse can lead to fatal crashes.