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: 253932

Reported Deaths: 5524
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 46°
Columbus
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 45°
Oxford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 33°
Starkville
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather