Remote places are a part of what makes private aviation so desirable. Though small airports are built for convenience, there is still a certain sense of exclusivity that adds to the experience of flying private to or out of them. Engineers around the world are tasked with building airports in locations that do not have ample space, flat ground, favorable winds, or great visibility. Working with what they have, they make sure that the end product is the safest as possible. Below are five airports that stand out.
1. Courchevel, France (CVF)
A vacation in the French Alps is always on the top of the list, but getting there requires navigating some snow, wind, and ice before making a landing on the steep 1,700 foot long runway. In addition to being one of the most dangerous runways to land in the world, the airport was also the spot where the famous James Bond movie, “Tomorrow Never Dies” was filmed. To calm your nerves, you can always grab a hot chocolate or apres-ski cocktail at of the numerous bars in the airport. Once you have safely landed, put on a pair of ski boots and click on your skis for a great adventure in the Alps.
2. Gibraltar Airport (GIB)
Between Morocco and Spain, sits Gibraltar – known for its population of Barbary macaques (monkeys) and its sub-tropical climate. Between a busy city and a mountain, the Gibraltar Airport has a short runway that intersects Winston Churchill Avenue, Gibraltar’s busiest road, which is closed every time a plane lands or departs.
3. Simpson Bay, St. Maarten (SXM)
Princess Juliana International Airport is known for it short runway and planes landing need to fly over Maho Beach, before hitting the runway on this Caribbean island. The island itself is divided into two, with the Dutch side being Sint Martin and the French side, Saint Maarten. The Dutch side is known for its active nightlife, beaches, casinos and guavaberry drinks, while the French side is known for its nude beaches, shopping, and cuisine.
4. Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU)
The Toncontin International Airport has an extremely short runway (7000 feet) surrounded by a valley of mountains in the capital of Honduras. The airport opened in 1934 when the plane engines were still not as powerful and the architecture codes did not require such lengthy runways. Planes coming in and out of the airport move in the same direction and the government launched a new initiative to reroute commercial traffic to the Soto Cano Air Base airport.
5. Saint Barthelemy (SBH)
The Gustaf III Airport and the island’s main city of Gustavia are named after King Gustav III of Sweden. According to the History Channel’s Most Extreme Airports show, the airport is ranked the third most dangerous airport in the world due to the landings and takeoffs being extremely steep over a hilltop.