Princess Juliana International Airport serves Saint Maarten, the Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin. It is the second busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean. The airport is famous for its short landing strip — only 2,180 metres/7,152 ft, which is barely enough for heavy jets. Because of this, the planes approach the island flying extremely low, right over Maho Beach. Countless photos of large jets flying at 10--20 m/30-60 ft over relaxing tourists at the beach have been dismissed as fakes many times, but are nevertheless real. For this reason as well it has become a favourite for planespotters. Despite the difficulties in approach, there has been no records of major aviation incidents at the airport.
Princess Juliana International Airport (Saint Martin)
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (Saba)
Yrausquin Airport covers a relatively large portion of the small island of Saba. Some aviation experts are of the general opinion that the airport is one of the most dangerous in the world, despite the fact that no major tragedies have happened at the facility. The airport's sole runway is marked with an X at each end, to indicate to commercial pilots that the airport is closed for commercial aviation.
The danger arises from the airport's physical position. It is flanked on one side by high hills, and on the other side and at both ends of the runway by cliffs dropping into the sea. This creates the possibility that an airplane might overshoot the runway during landing or takeoff and end up in the sea or on the cliffs.
Who gets to land here? Well, Pierce Brosnan made the short list. This was the airport used in the opening seen of Tomorrow Never Dies. For the rest of us, private plane, helicopter, or charter are the only ways to go, and your pilot is going to need some serious training before he or she is allowed to land at CVF.
Gustaf III Airport (St. Bart)
Barra International Airport (Barra)
The airport is literally washed away by the tide once a day, and if you arrive on a late afternoon flight, you may notice a couple of cars in the parking lot with their lights on, which provides pilots some added visibility, since the airport is naturally lit. Needless to say you probably don't want to hang out at Barra Airport beach, unless you are a aviation junkie, in which case Barra Airport has a fool proof system, as sign that reads: "Keep off the beach. When the windsock is flying and the airport is active."
Madeira Airport (Madeira)
The airport was once infamous for its short runway which, surrounded by high mountains and the ocean, made it a tricky landing for even the most experienced of pilots. The original runway was only 1,400 metres in length, but was extended by 400 metres after the TAP Air Portugal Flight 425 incident of 1977 and subsequently rebuilt in 2003, almost doubling the size of the runway, building it out over the ocean. Instead of using landfill, the extension was built on a series of 180 columns, each being about 70m tall.
For the enlargement of the new runway the Funchal Airport has won the Outstanding Structures Award, given by International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE). The Outstanding Structures Award is considered to be the "Oscar" for engineering structures in Portugal.
Lukla Airport (Nepal)
Lukla Airport is a small airport in the Town of Lukla in eastern Nepal. In January 2008, the government of Nepal announced that the airport would be renamed in honor of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, who passed away on January 11, 2008. The airport is quite popular as Lukla is the place where most people start their trek to climb Mount Everest.