World's scariest airport landings (+videos)

An Air New Zealand Boeing 737 landing at Wellington Airport. Photo / Mark Mitchell
An Air New Zealand Boeing 737 landing at Wellington Airport. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Wellington Airport has been named one of scariest places in the world to land and take off by a British newspaper.

The Telegraph ranked it as one of the 15 most frightening international airports in a list that included Quito in Ecuador, the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong, Courchevel Altiport in the French Alps, Isle of Barra in Scotland, the Portuguese island of Madeira, Tenzing-Hillary airport in Nepal, the ice runway in Antarctica and Paro in Bhutan.

White-knuckled passengers faced a combination of factors as pilots negotiated Wellington Airport, said the newspaper.

"Conditions here are exceptionally difficult owing to the short runway, a tricky approach through hilly landscape and frighteningly strong crosswinds that can make for a terrifyingly turbulent landing."

Others made the top spots because of their challenging location.

Bhutan's Paro Airport is set in a deep valley, surrounded by the Himalayas, and only eight pilots in the world are certified to land here, reported the newspaper.

Take offs from Matekane Airport in Lesotho involve negotiating the "bumpy airstrip", which ends with a 610m drop.

In the Caribbean, Saba Airport is one of the world's shortest runways, at approximately 396m and is surrounded by steep drops to the ocean on three sides.

Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong was closed in 1998.

The dramatic and technically challenging runway required pilots to fly low over a residential area of the city surrounded by mountains, then make a sharp right while negotiating strong crosswinds, and was the scene of several fatal crashes, said the newspaper.

The Telegraph lists the following places as the scariest to land in:

* At Paro, high in the Himalayas.

* A bumpy mountain air strip in Matekane, Lesotho.

* The world's shortest runway on Saba, in the Caribbean.

* The Sea Ice Runway, Antarctica.

* Just off the water at Princess Juliana International Airport, St Maarten, in the Caribbean.

* In high altitude at Tenzing-Hillary airport, Lukla, Nepal.

* Up a fiord at Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland.

* Amongst cliffs and bad weather in Funchal, on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

*At the tidal Isle of Barra, Scotland.

* At Gibraltar, on the Mediterranean coast.

* Toncontin International Airport in Honduras, where hills were moved to extend the runway.

* At Courchevel Altiport, in the French Alps.

The legendary airport at Kai Tak, Hong Kong.

* In the wild crosswinds of Wellington, New Zealand.

* At Quito, Ecuador, which is surrounded by volcanoes, fog and mountains.

Read the original story here.


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