IN A REPORT updated this month luxury travel website The Boutique Adventurer has ranked Don Mueang International Airport as the 26th most dangerous airport out of 29 it has listed, Sanook.com said today (June 30).
Mentioned in this list are not just airports in developing countries with some of those in developed nations, such as the United States, France, Japan and Norway, also deemed to be dangerous.
A dangerous airport can be determined by a wide variety of factors including altitude, wind current, runway length, runway location as well as social and political issues, the report said.
Topping the list was Japan’s Kansai International Airport which faces a variety of environmental factors from earthquakes to its proximity to sea level. This plane hub can experience a lot of delays when natural disasters strike.
When it comes to Don Mueang Airport, Boutique Adventurer said it is dangerous because an operational golf course is situated between the two runways with this giving a sense of danger to any golfer’s experience.
Flooding in the past was also mentioned with floodwaters flowing into the runways in 2011 and preventing domestic flights from taking off and landing.
In addition, the Thai civil aviation sector was flagged by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization for not meeting international standards in June 2014 but the red flag was lifted in October 2017.
Regarding India’ Shimla Airport, which placed 28th out of 29 dangerous airports, the Boutique Adventurer said: “This gathering spot for commercial airline planes is located in Jubbarhatti in the Shimla region and has a runway that will send chills down your spine once your eyes land upon it. The tarmac for planes is not only located between tremendous mountains, but the runway itself is a steep stretch of land that offers a crash into the surrounding rocky peaks if missed.”
On Hong Kong’s Kai Tek Airport the report said: “While this airport might have seen its final flight in 1998, this closed-down plane hub in Hong Kong is still worth a mention due to its historically hair-raising landings of the past. Its surrounding terrain consisted mainly of mountainous areas and a vibrant city below.
“Incoming flights were seemingly grazing the top of the city buildings and the roads on their path, which made the flights of Kai Tak a close call to destruction each time. This airport was also prone to unfavourable wind patterns for flying and could only be landed manually by pilots.”
As ranked by Boutique Adventurer the 29 most dangerous airports in the world this year are as follows:
1) Kansai International Airport (Japan)
2) Barra International Airport (Scotland)
3) Wellington International Airport (New Zealand)
4) Princess Juliana International Airport (Saint Martin)
5) Lukla Airport (Nepal)
6) Paro Airport (Bhutan)
7) Santos Dumont Airport (Brazil)
8) McMurdo Station (Antarctica)
9) Svalbard Airport (Norway)
10) Gustaf III Airport (Caribbean)
11) Saba Airport (Dutch Caribbean)
12) Gisborne Airport (New Zealand)
13) Madeira Airport (Portugal)
14) Narsarsuaq Airport (Greenland)
15) Gibraltar International Airport (Gibraltar)
16) San Diego International Airport (California, USA)
17) Toncontín International Airport (Honduras)
18) Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (Colorado, USA)
19) Alejandro Velasco Astete Cusco International Airport (Peru)
20) Kai Tak Airport (Hong Kong)
21) Agatti Aerodrome/Airport (India)
22) Cleveland Hopkins International (Cleveland, USA)
23) Telluride Regional Airport (Colorado, USA)
24) Congonhas-São Paulo Airport (Brazil)
24) Courchevel Airport (France)
26) Don Mueang International Airport (Thailand)
27) Tioman Island Airport (Malaysia)
28) Shimla Airport (India)
29) Damascus International Airport (Syria)
Don Mueang Airport, formerly known as Bangkok Airport, officially opened as an air force base on March 27, 1914 with commercial flights starting in 1924. However it was temporarily closed in 2006 and transformed into a hub for aircraft repair, flight training and parking of VIP private aircraft but reopened again 2012. This is one of the oldest airports in the world and the oldest operating airport in Asia.
Don Mueang International Airport. Top photo: Matichon, Front Page photo: Thai Rath