The 7 scariest airport runways

These airports should probably be avoided if you're prone to suffering from a fear of flying

Mollie Goodfellow
Wednesday 22 July 2015 11:35 BST
Pilots need to take caution at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal, what with the sloping runway (Picture: Wikimedia/Jeremy Broomfield)
Pilots need to take caution at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal, what with the sloping runway (Picture: Wikimedia/Jeremy Broomfield)

While flying can be a terrifying prospect for many, the sight of these runways could be enough to put them off flying for life.

Some feature a shorter runway than most, while others require pilots to manoeuvre mountains, or bodies of water at the end of them.

Hechi Jinchengjiang Airport, China

A view of the runway of the new airport built on top of mountains in Hechi city

This airport opened in 2014, and to construct it builders had to level off the top of 60 hilltops in order to place the runway. To level the runway for the £85million airport, architects used dynamite to blow off the top of the mountain. Now pilots have to navigate onto the short runway, 2,200ft above sea level.

Gibraltar International Airport, Gibraltar

Gibraltar airport seen from the Rock in Gibraltar in January 2013

At Gibraltar’s airport, a highway intersects the runway. This means that whenever a flight is due to land in Gibraltar the road has to be closed. The traffic on the Winston Churchill Avenue is kept at a standstill for about 10 minutes to allow flights to land. As well as having to contend with traffic, the runway is also surrounded on three sides by the coast.

Toncontin International Airport, Honduras

Barra Airport, Scotland

Madeira Airport, Madeira

Runway at Madeira Airport. Photo: Jarle Vines (Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike 3.0)

This is another particularly short runway, based at the bottom of a slope and held up by pillars. One side of the runway teeters over the water’s edge, made all the more hair-raising by often-harsh wind conditions.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Nepal

Tenzing-Hillary runway is steep and surrounded by mountains (Picture: Jeremy Broomfield)

This runway is short and upward sloping and is only accessible by helicopter or small fixed-wing planes. The runway is also at high altitude, around 9,334 ft above sea level.

Gustaf III Airport, St Barth's

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