The world's most extreme airports

Commercial aviation has allowed access to pretty much every corner of our planet.The construction of airports ...

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 12:57 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 12:57 PM

Commercial aviation has allowed access to pretty much every corner of our planet.

The construction of airports in the most extreme destinations has opened up a world of possibilities for those travelers that like to break records and collect milestones.

We've compiled a list of some of the most extreme airports around the world, from the Himalayan heights to the heat of the desert, from one Pole to the other.

We hope adventurous fliers will find some inspiration here.

The northernmost

The military outpost of Alert, on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island in the Nunavut territory of Canada, is not only the world's northernmost permanently inhabited settlement, but also home to the most northern airfield on Earth.

Sadly, it's out of bounds for the general public.

The farthest north you can get on a regular commercial flight is Svalbard Airport, Longyear, on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, located around halfway between the North Pole and the European mainland.

However, not to be outdone in Arctic matters, the Russians have on occasion landed airliners right next to the North Pole. Antonov An-74 aircraft operated by Russian airline Utair use a makeshift runway on the drifting ice in their supply runs to Ice Camp Barneo.

The southernmost

You can't fly further south than the Jack F. Paulus Skiway.

This is because this runway, used by US Air Force C-130 cargo aircraft to resupply the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, is located right by the South Pole.

There are other landing strips in Antarctica, mostly used for scientific missions, but they also receive the occasional charter tourist flight.

However, there are no regular commercial flights to Antarctica. For this, you need to go to the tip of the American landmass.

The southernmost airport with regular commercial traffic is Guardiamarina Za-artu at Puerto Williams, on the southern tip of Chile. Although primarily a military airfield, small local airline Aerovias DAP flies from here to Punta Arenas, in the Chilean Patagonia.

The nearby Argentinian city of Ushuaia, just to the north across a narrow sea channel from Puerto Williams, can claim to be the major air gateway to this remote region, though. Its international airport enjoys more frequent long-distance jet services to the mainland.

The highest

Since its inauguration in 2013, Daocheng Yading Airport in China's Sichuan province holds the title of the world's highest airport.

In fact, four of the five highest airports in the world are in Chinese territory.

Its location in a barren plateau at 4,411 meters altitude, together with its contemporary terminal that resembles a flying-saucer, give this airport an otherworldly aspect.

Daocheng Yading Airport has regular airline services to the provincial capital, Chengdu, about one hour's flight away, as well as to several other destinations in southern and central China.

The lowest

The Dead Sea, in Israel, is the lowest point on the surface of Earth.

Consequently, Bar Yehuda Airfield, located right on its shore, at 1,240 feet (378 meters) below sea level, is the world's lowest airport.

This airport doesn't have any regular airline service, though.

The most isolated

Despite its remoteness, interest in the Moai, Easter Island's unique stone sculptures, ensures a constant stream of visitors at Mataveri International Airport.

This is the world's most remote airport: From here it is 1,617 miles (2,603 kilometers) westward to Totegegie Airport in French Polynesia. The Chilean mainland is even further away in the eastward direction: It takes 2,336 miles (3,759 kilometers) to reach Santiago's airport.

The hottest

In the past few years, the Middle East has been a super-hot region for the aviation industry and not just figuratively.

In June 2017 it was reported that Ahvaz International Airport, in southeast Iran, had recorded a record temperature of 129.2 F (54 C). If verified, this would match the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth in modern times: 129.2F readings in Mitribah, Kuwait in July 2016, and Death Valley, California in June 2013.

In July 2016, the thermometer also reached 129 F (53.9 C) at an airport, but in this case in Basra, in southern Iraq.

The coldest

Deep inside Siberia, the village of Oymyakon, in Russia's Sakha Republic (an autonomous region 12 times the size of the UK) is reputed as being the coldest place on Earth, with recorded temperatures that have reached - 89.9 F (- 67.7 C).

No wonder, then, that the regional capital Yakutsk has a strong claim to having the coldest airport in the world, with average winter temperatures around - 38 F (- 39 C).

One can only wonder what the aircraft de-icing invoice looks like.

The biggest

Comparing airports by surface area can be a tricky business, as there's no standard way to account for the land taken by the airport, its auxiliary infrastructure or even land reserves for future development.

King Fahd International Airport, in Saudi Arabia, claims a total of 78,000 hectares, which would place it on the top spot by a wide margin. However, the area actually developed for airport uses is but a fraction of that: 3,675 hectares.

This would place Denver International on the top spot, with 13,726 hectares. As a reference, London Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, occupies 1,227 hectares.

But if what counts in the aviation business is traffic, then Atlanta-Hartsfield is the global leader, both in number of passengers, close to 104 million in 2017, and aircraft movements, 898,356 in 2016.

The tallest

Usually the highest point in any airport is the air control tower (ATC).

Standing at 133.8 meters (438 feet, 11.71 inches), Tower West at Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the world's tallest air traffic control.

Enough to grant it a place on this list as the world's tallest airport.

The shortest runway

Although it's hard to single out the smallest airport in the world, the contest for shortest runway has a clear winner.

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport on the beautiful island of Saba in the Dutch Antilles has the shortest runway supporting regular commercial operations.

The airport was built on the only flat space on this volcanic island, its runway dramatically clinging to the side of a steep mountain, appearing to incoming aircraft not unlike the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Pilots must hold a special certification in order to be allowed to land here.

The longest runway

At 5,500 meters in length, Qamdo Bamda Airport, in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, holds the record of being the longest paved airport runway in use in the world.

The very long runway is a requirement dictated by the need to compensate the reduction in engine and lift performance that aircraft experience when taking off and landing at very high altitudes.

Until the inauguration of Daocheng Yading Airport, Qamdo Bamda was also the highest airport in the world, at 4,334 meters altitude.

The happiest

Last but not least... Amid this succession of facts and figures we couldn't forget the metric that, ultimately, matters the most.

Which is the airport with the happiest fliers?

Finnish company HappyOrNot says it has the answer, thanks to its 25,000 customer satisfaction terminals which dot airports around the world.

And the winner is... Exeter Airport.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 41°
Columbus
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 38°
Oxford
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 36°
Starkville
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 34°
High pressure will continue to control our weather forecast for the next several days. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. We will see both daytime highs and overnight lows gradually get milder and warmer.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather