Four of the World’s Most Unusual Airports


Several months ago we looked at some of some of the world’s most spectacular – and dangerous – airports. We thought for your edification wed follow up with a quartet of other dodgy oddballs.

Aeropuerto Princesa Juliana (St Marteen)

Princess Juliana International Airport (SMX), St. Maarten/St. Martin

The Caribbeans SMX is classified as one of the worlds most challenging because of its approach, which requires pilots to fly very low before touchtown, with the runway starting practically right across from Maho Beach (see above). In addition, the runway is quite short, so pilots of larger aircraft need to calculate their landings even more carefully. Despite the challenges, no major incidents have been recorded at the airport. These conditions are great for planespotters, of course, and as well as providing unusual (though dangerous) opportunities for daredevils to “ride the fence” (hanging onto the chainlink fence while being blown by the backwash from a taxiing jet).

Aeropuerto Juancho E. Yrausquin

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB), Saba

On this tiny island in the Netherlands Antilles, the worlds shortest commercial runway, just 400 metres (1,313 feet), and beginning and ending over a cliff into the sea. Needless to say, the planes that can manage this are small prop planes (from local carrier Winair) and the experience, as the island tourism office says, is like landing “on an aircraft carrier”.

Aeropuerto Tocontin (Tegucigalpa)

Tocontín Airport (TGU), Tegucigalpa, Honduras 

Yep, this is actually an international airport. :O Its short runway and location in a valley hemmed in by mountains means that pilots facing this runway definitely have to be at the top of their game – including having to clear surrounding buildings by mere metres before touching down. Not surprisingly, its a great spot for spotters.

Aeropuerto Gisborne

Gisborne Airport (GIS), New Zealand

A regional aeroport on the east coast of the North Island, its main peculiarity is that right in the middle of its paved runway runs a railroad track. So in addition to air traffic controllers managing flights, theyve got to deal with train schedules, as well!

Anyone flown into or out of any of these? Your comments are especially welcome!