14 of the World’s Most Extreme Airports
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From the hottest to the coldest, from the airport at the highest altitude to one located at 1,240 feet below sea level, these are the 14 most exceptional airports in the world.
1. The World’s Hottest Airport
Kuwait International Airport (KWI), located in the Arabian Desert, is considered to be the hottest airport in the world, with temperatures regularly reaching up to 113˚F during the summer. In fact, The Daily Mail recently reported that Kuwait experienced its hottest recorded temperature, a searing 129.2˚F this July.
2. The World’s Coldest Airport
Yakutsk Airport (YKS), located in Russia’s Siberian Tundra, is consistently the coldest airport in the world, with temperatures regularly reaching -40˚F during the winter — it’s so cold that planes sometimes even have to be de-iced during the summer. Just outside Yakutsk, the Yana River basin holds the record for the coldest recorded temperature on earth outside Antartica, clocking in at a brisk -83.9˚F.
3. Airport With the Highest Altitude
Located in the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Daocheng Yading Airport (DCY) is the highest airport in the world at 14,472 feet, high in the mountains of the Tibetan Plateau.
4. Airport With the Lowest Altitude
Bar Yehuda Airfield (MTZ) in Israel is located at a whopping 1,240 feet below sea level, just a few miles from Masada National Park and not far from the Dead Sea.
5. The World’s Busiest Airport
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) maintains its status as the busiest airport in the world, having served more than 100 million passengers in 2015 — that’s roughly 11.5 million more than the runner up, Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
6. Airport With the Shortest Commercial Runway
Located on the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba, Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB) is home to the shortest commercial airport runway in the world at just 1,312 feet.
7. Airport With the Longest Commercial Runway
Qamdo Bamda Airport (BPX) in Tibet, China, has the longest runway of any commercial airport in the world — at 18,045 feet, you could line up 50 American Football fields end to end and the runway would still be longer! The airport is situated at 14,219 feet above sea level, making takeoff even more difficult than usual.
8. The Most Remote Airport
Easter Island’s Mataveri International Airport (IPC) takes the title of the world’s most remote airport, served only by LAN from Santiago (SCL) and Papeete (PPT), with seasonal flights from Lima (LIM). Just how remote is it? The island is located 2,334 miles west of Santiago and 4,248 miles east of Papeete, Tahiti.
9. The Airport With the Most Delays
Chinese airports are notoriously delayed, and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) is no exception, with a dismal on-time performance rate of just 41%. Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai (PVG) are pretty bad, too, with on-time rates of 64% and 52%, respectively. The cause of all this? The majority of China’s airspace is used for military operations, so the skies are nice and crowded.
10. The Most Punctual Airport(s)
A stark contrast to China’s airports, Tokyo’s Haneda airport (HND) is the most punctual large airport in the world, with 91.25% of its flights departing on time, while Osaka International Airport (ITM) has the best on-time performance among smaller airports, with a rate of 93.85%.
11. The Northernmost Airport in the World
Svalbard Airport, Longyear (LYR) holds the title for the northernmost airport in the world. The Norwegian archipelago was once a Russian coal-mining outpost; nowadays, it serves as the starting point for North Pole expeditions.
12. The Southernmost Airport in the World
Located in Argentina’s scenic Tierra del Fuego Province, Malvinas Argentinas Ushuaia International Airport (USH) is the southernmost commercial airport in the world. The area is home to spectacular natural scenery and is a good spot to catch a ride to Antarctica if that’s been on your bucket list.
13. The Airport With the Largest Runway Gradient
Courchevel Altiport (CVF) in the French Alps serves a ski resort by the same name and offers one of the most treacherous approaches for pilots — a gradient of just 18.6% and a runway that’s only 1,762 feet long. Adventurous types can practically ski downhill directly to the tarmac, as seen in the photo below.
14. The Airport With the Shortest Distance from a Public Viewing Area
Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in Saint Martin is famous for its thrilling landings — for both passengers and folks lounging on nearby beaches. Grab your camera and wait by Maho Beach directly outside the airport for a unique landing experience and to get a photo like this:
Have you been to any of these airports? Tell us about your experience, below.
Featured image of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport courtesy of Shutterstock.
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