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Accidents / World's Most Dangerous Airports / Weather / American Airlines / Kingston Travel / Jamaica Travel / KIN / → All Tags
A planeful of people headed down to Kingston, Jamaica for the holidays got the shock of their lives last night when their flight, American Airlines 331 from Miami, overshot the runway during a horrible rainstorm. The plane bounced on the runway, crashed through the fence at the end of the tarmac, skidded across the roadway and lost some landing gear and at least one of its engines before coming to rest on the beach, just short of the ocean.
All 154 passengers and crew survived, but some 91 injuries have been reported, including broken bones and more minor scratches. Since this was technically a crash, the airport closed and other Kingston-bound flights were diverted to other Jamaica airports.
This incident, and the general scary island-y nature of Kingston's Norman Manley airport and its one sea-bordered runway adds it to our ever-growing list of the World's Most Dangerous Airports. To check out a picture of the American Airlines accident, head here.
· American Airlines Flight Narrowly Avoids Sea on Landing In Jamaica; Injuries Reported [NPR]
· Light injuries as plane overshoots runway [National Post]
· Travel Accidents [Jaunted]
[Image: Google Maps]
World's Most Dangerous Airports / Caribbean Travel / Island Travel / Airports / Dominica Travel / → All Tags
Thanks to a reader tip, we zoomed our Google Maps eyes down on the tiny Cane Field Airport (DCF) on Dominica, an island in the Caribbean between Guadeloupe and Martinique. Because of the mountainous terrain of the island, the runway was constructed directly alongside the beach. That might sound picturesque, but with crosswinds threatening to dump you in the drink, in addition to a steep approach, it gets to be quite harrowing.
Now, Cane Field is one of two airports on this small island, the other being Melville Hall. However Cane Field is the smaller of the two, mainly used for island hopping, private jets, and the like. With a runway only 3,100' long, it's easy to see why. You will catch the occasional American Airlines or LIAT planes landing at the nearby Melville Hall, but it's Cane Field that holds the most suspense for incoming flights.
Now add to this the fact that both airports on Dominica have no lights for nighttime flights, and the stakes are upped. Better hope that you're not landing on the island on an usually dark and stormy day!
[Photo: Google Maps]
The French island of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean might be the winter playground of the rich and famous, but unless you arrive via private yacht or boat charter, all the gobs of money in the world can't save you from enduring the white-knuckled landing on the short airstrip at St. Barth's Gustaf III/St. Jean Airport (SBH).
The concrete runway begins at the base of slight hill, and goes for only 2,100 feet before landing right on St. Jean's beach and the harbor of the island's second largest town. Sunbathers can totally lie out right next to the sand strip at the end of the runway, this it's a hugely popular plane spotting destination for those who enjoy small, prop planes. You see, because of the itty-bitty airport and runway size, major flights must land at the neighboring island of St. Maarten, where they have a big, modern airport. From there, the Barths-bound folks either jump aboard a ferry or hop a WINAIR, Air Caraïbes, and St-Barth Commuter flight in planes usually holding twenty or less passengers.
An airplane crashes, after the jump.
Forget roller coasters. We get our kicks on scary-as-hell runways. So we're about ready to schedule a trip to the South Pacific after tipster Paul Sloan of Tahiti Expeditions sent along word of Gizo Airport (GZO) in the Solomon Islands. Is it us, or does this runway look like it just shouldn't work? Apparently it does!
For the record, there are several dozen other airports scattered throughout the Solomon Islands, including the comparatively giant Honiara International Airport, where you can even catch a flight on Virgin Blue.
Needless to say, if you're Soloman Islands-bound and not to Honiara, you'll needs to board a tiny Solomon Airlines jet to reach this little beaut of a runway. Nailbiting landing are part of the exotic fun, don't you know.
· At Least The Juana Azurduy Airport Has a Paved Runway [Jaunted]
· World's Most Dangerous Airports [Jaunted]
· Island Travel: Budget Airlines Hit Solomon Islands [Jaunted]
It's been a while since we updated our World's Most Dangerous Airports list but thanks to a Jaunted tipster, we have learned of yet another scary airport to seek out/avoid. It's Juana Azurduy (SRE) in Sucre, Bolivia.
I flew in once (this was 1993, I spent a summer in that part of the world). It's like a lot of other airports - hot and high (about 9000 feet above MSL), in a natural bowl of mountains. The really nasty trick is that just at the end of the runway there is a small hill: incoming aircraft descend, then have to pull up sharply, then drop again to hit the end of the runway.
What makes matters worse is that there is no taxiway, so having gone past the terminal building the aircraft apparently starts to leave the runway altogether to the right before making a turn in its own length and taxiing back up to the terminal. Very unnerving if you haven't done it before!
You can see a great shot of the airport here on Airliners.net. On the bright side, the airport's runway is paved--something that you don't always get in this part of the world. And while the landing can be freaky, the airport is only open from sunrise to sunset so there can be no attempts to maneuver the descent in the dark. Phew!
Airline News / World's Most Dangerous Airports / LHR / Dangerous Travel / New Routes / Iraq Travel / BMI / → All Tags
Has that pesky little Iraq war been upsetting your Middle East travel plans? If British airline BMI has any say in the matter of increasing air passenger traffic to the good old Baghdad International, then your dreams of family reunions in Fallujah and spa weekends in Basra may not be pipe dreams much longer.
Thanks to a rousing meeting last week between Iraqi officials and UK businesses, British investment in the rebuilding country is looking imminent, and maverick companies will need an airline to shuttle them back and forth between deals in London and Baghdad. The Financial Times breaks the news that BMI is not only considering operating flights between the two capitals, making it the first to successfully re-connect the Isles to Iraq in almost twenty years, but that it would like to do so as early as next spring.
Don't say we didn't warn you: We did. On October 8, a plane crashed for the second time since 2005 at the tiny airport near Mt. Everest, killing 18.
The 19-seat Yeti Airlines plane had nearly completed its flight from Katmandu when it snagged its wheels on a security fence at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal about 40 miles from Mount Everest Base Camp. Two Australians, two Nepalese and 12 tourists from Germany on a Hauser Exkursionen tour died. Only the pilot survived.
Just because Toncontin International in Tegucigalpa, Honduras is one of the most dangerous airports on Earth doesn't mean Delta doesn't wanna fly some jets down there. So starting December 18, subject to governmental approval, the airline plans to start daily 737 service to TGU out of Atlanta.
A couple of things are worth noting, first and foremost the fact that the brand-new 737-700s Delta plans to use will be small and nimble enough to handle the short runway and high altitude at Toncontin. Still, if you're not a fan of elaborate airborne maneuvers, you'd probably prefer flying into San Pedro Sula, less than a couple hours away, where the runway is big, flat and, you know, not deadly.
Also worth mentioning is that, yes, indeed, flights are being allowed into TGU. After a crash at the airport earlier this year, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya ordered all flights diverted to Palmerola Air Base, north of Tegucigalpa. But on July 7, Toncontin was reopened to commercial flights because the military installation still wasn't ready to handle passengers.
The newest addition to our list of The World's Most Dangerous Airports comes courtesy of a Jaunted tipster. It's Shimla Airport, set nearly a mile high in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India.
Shimla, once being the summer capital of British India, has foggy weather approximately 100 days a year and is situated 6,988 feet above the sea level. It has become an attractive destination for sun-weary people, served by the Shimla Airport outside of town.
The airport, which sits 5,072 feet above sea level, was built by cutting the crest of a long hill in the region. The airport receives regular domestic flights from Indian Airlines and Jagson Airlines, but no international flights operate there.
One of the world's most notorious airfields, Toncontin International, was closed to flights Saturday after a Taca A320 skidded off a rain-drenched runway and onto a nearby road on Friday, killing four people on board and one on the ground. Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said a new international airport would be built to finally replace TGU.
Built in 1948, Toncontin has been dangerous since the day it opened, 3,300 feet above sea level. Normally, that altitude would call for more runway room than usual, but TGU gives pilots just 6,112 feet of asphalt to land on. The short runway was clearly a contributing factor in Friday's accident.
If it weren't already dangerous enough, the airport is situated in a valley surrounded by hills, meaning pilots have to execute some hair-raising turns just to line up for a difficult landing. On our last flight into TGU, the pilot made a quick announcement during our descent to put nervous fliers at ease before banking in for a landing.
All that said, Friday may have been the last day for Toncontin. Zelaya's proposed new passenger terminal at Soto Cano Air Base in Comayagua won't be ready for at least another two months, so flights are already being diverted to San Pedro Sula. Good thing, too: The runway at SAP is a comfortable 9,203 feet, sitting just 91 feet above sea level.
The airport of the city of Merida, Venezuela is in between a valley with 17,000-foot mountains and houses at the end off the runway... As of matter of fact a passenger plane crash after take off on the 21st of February.
That was Santa Barbara Airlines Flight 518, and the crash killed all 46 people on board. The turboprop plane didn't get far from the airport because of the mountains surrounding the runway: Flight 518 slammed into a rock face just 6 miles from MRD.
Know another dangerous airport? Fill us in.
One of the world's most dangerous airports--at least according to us--will be renamed to honor the two climbers who tamed Everest in 1953. Lukla Airport, a small strip served by Yeti Airlines, will soon be known as Tenzing-Hillary Airport, and a route between it and the Everest base camp will also be named for them.
Officials are also planning to put up some statues of the famous climbers at the mountaineering museum in Pokhara, east of Lukla. Oh, and before you go booking a flight to the airport, watch some of the white-knuckle rides that people have uploaded to YouTube to make sure you're up for the trip.
· Nepal Honors Two Everest Heroes [BBC]
· Nepal Airport, Route Named After Heroes [Reuters]
· Introducing Tenzing-Hillary Airport [WorldHum]
· World's Most Dangerous Airports: Lukla [Jaunted]
· World's Most Dangerous Airports coverage [Jaunted]