World’s 18 Strangest Airports

Here they are according to Popular Mechanics:

1: Kansai International Airport – Osaka, Japan
The airport is an artificial island 2.5 miles long and 1.6 miles wide—so large it’s visible from space.

2: Gibraltar Airport – Gibraltar
Sometimes it’s a road and sometimes it’s a runway.

3: Madeira International Airport – Maderia, Portugal
Engineers extended the runway to 9000 feet by building a girder bridge atop about 200 pillars.

4: Don Mueang International Airport –  Bangkok, Thailand
Looks like any other midsize airport but between the two runways is an 18-hole golf course.

5: Ice Runway – Antarctica
The real challenge is making sure that the weight of the aircraft and cargo doesn’t break the ice.

6: Congonhas Airport – Sao Paulo, Brazil
“It becomes a challenge in terms of safety to just get the plane in there.”

7: Courchevel International Airport  – Courchevel, France
“You take off downhill and you land going uphill with an 18.5 percent grade.”

8: Princess Juliana International Airport – Simpson Bay, Saint Maarten
Not many airports are flanked by oceanfront property with tourists standing underneath.

9: Svalbard AirportSvalbard – Norway
A cluster of islands sitting in the Arctic Ocean. It’s the world’s northernmost airport where tourists can book tickets.

10: Juancho Yrausquin Airport – Netherlands
The 1,300 foot runway is difficult even for Cessnas

11: Barra Airport – Barra, Scotland
When the tide comes in, the runway disappears.

12: Hong Kong International Airport Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong
A 3.2 square mile island made by merging two smaller islands with reclaimed land.

13: Toncontin International Airport – Tegucigalpa, Honduras
The runway is 7000 feet long in a valley surrounded by mountains.

14: Qamdo Bangda AirportQamdo – Tibet
The world’s highest airport, more than 14,000 feet above sea level.

15: Dammam King Fahd International Airport – Dammam, Saudi Arabia
The largest airport in the world with over 300 square miles of desert.

16: Denver International Airport  – Denver, Colorado
Has a 9200-panel solar farm and produces 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

17: Macau International Airport – Macau
A set of highways links the runway with the small island of Taipa.

18: Copalis State Airport – Grays Harbor County, Washington
The runway is located between the mouth of the Copalis River and a barrier of rocks. It’s submerged every time the tide rolls in.

My personal favorite was Meigs Field- the small island airport previously located near the city center of Chicago. It’s gone but I’m willing to give Juancho Yrausquin a try.

9 responses to “World’s 18 Strangest Airports

  1. virgil xenophon

    Only ones I’ve flown into are Don Muang, Meigs, and the OLD Hong Kong (on R&R ) in ’68. Which had a VERY interesting approach.

  2. virgil xenophon

    PS,you could get a whole, fresh pineapple for 25 baht (5-cents) behind the pax terminal in 68!

    • I’d be interested to know if anyone has flown to more than a few of them. Off the beaten path if you will. I’ve been to three including Meigs.

      That’s cheap pineapple but baht is Thai currency. What airport?

  3. virgil xenophon

    Sorry-Don Muang. Had a veritable farmer’s mkt set up there in those days. We’d always buy a bunch to take back to DaNang. When I was “FACking” every once and a while 2-3 of us would hop in an O-2 and head to Bangkok for a couple of days of unofficial R&R if schedule permitted and we had someone to cover the duty–usually rated duty officers at the DASC who didn’t get a lot of flt time otherwise and flew on their days off the duty desk.

  4. virgil xenophon

    PPS: Don’t know about today–but in those days all DASC “FIDOs” (Fighter Duty Officers) were FAC-qualified and checked-out in the aircraft.

    • According to what I’ve studied (of course you’d know more), FAC’s frequently had lots of hours including jets and were not junior officers. Majors with fighter experience were flying simple slow moving aircraft. Must be that their better airmanship and judgement were necessary to direct strikes and rescues.
      –Ever consider how much of a sitting duck you were at that time?

  5. virgil xenophon

    Oh,yes. I was one of only two 1/lts in I-Corps at that time. Most were senior Capts up thru sr LtColonels. Majority were Majors/very senior Capts. I probably slipped in only because the CO of the outfit, an O-6, had flown with my cousin, LtGen. Talbott (then a BG) in P-47s in WWII–probably did it as a favor. (I didn’t ask, btw, only found out after I came aboard)

  6. virgil xenophon

    PS: I might expand by saying I never realized how much senior commanders have a “jungle-drums” network to keep track of children/relatives of other senior officers who happen to be in their command. I was unfortunate to draw the short straw once in plt tng and got stuck as Officer of the Day at Wing HQ one Sat night when I had to go into the Wing Cos office to lay some incoming over-night msg traffic in his in-box (this was 1966, after-all.) Underneath the glass on top of his desk were the names of every student pilot who had a relative of O-6 and above with the service branch, rank, command and phone# of the relative beside the trainee’s name. LOL!!

    • Military patronage at work. It happens everywhere (especially in politics i.e. Chicago). I still wonder about getting the “promotion” to be a FAC. “Congratulations son-you have the privilege to be the first in every mission to be shot at in a slow mover without armor or defense capability”.
      …”um -thank you sir”.
      I’d want to be promoted to a jet. More fun with the prospect of slightly more longevity.

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