PICS: 5 super scary airport runways

2015-03-11 21:30
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Cape Town -  Let's just face it - take-offs and landings are always a little scary.

No matter how well-travelled you are, there's something about a plane hurtling along a runway that induces some measure of anxiety. 

But there are runways and then there are runways. Check out these 5 terrifying landing strips from around the globe.

Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya, Japan 

(BehBeh - ja:file:20091015??????.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Built on an artificial island in Ise Bay south of Nagoya in central Japan, Chubu Airport is surrounded by water on all sides. Which means you aren't really landing on Terra Firma when you touch down. 

Gibraltar International Airport, Gibraltar


Not only is it squeezed in between the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Algeciras, it is also less than 2km long! Apart from this there's also a highway that intersects it, making it a scary spot for those in the air and on the ground. In fact, pedestrians are often asked to wait while jumbo jets touch down. Not your average stroll down the street, or what?

Barra Airport, Scotland

(Spumador /

Technically there isn't even a runway. Barra can be found on Traigh Mhor beach and planes land right on the sand. When the tide comes in daily, the airport is washed away and at night there is no artificial light illuminating the area. Thanks, but no thanks.

Paro Airport, Bhutan

(Nadezda Zavitaeva /

Apart from having to navigate the area's 4 000 m jagged peaks, pilots also must contend with forceful winds. And when we say pilots, we mean all eight of them who are qualified to make this landing.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Nepal


Half the adventure of climbing the Himalayas is flying in and out of the Tenzing_hillary airport. It features one of the steepest uphill runways in the world, capped off with a fence to prevent planes from dropping off the edge of a cliff.

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