Thursday, June 1, 2017

Top 11 most challenging airports in Europe

For any aircraft, landing is one the most challenging part of the work for pilots. And not all areas around the world offer the best conditions for an airport. Here are 11 of the world's most challenging airports in Europe.

1. Akureyri Airport (Akureyri, Iceland)
Pilots are prohibited from landing at Akureyri Airport unless they’ve received special training on a flight simulator or are familiar with the airport’s conditions. Its complex terrain calls for a high rate of descent that most pilots are not accustomed to. Along with the island’s volcanic activity, one of the main challenges is a steep descent into high-terrain as well as maneuvering within a tight valley.

2. Courchevel Airport (Courchevel, France)
At an elevation of 2,010 meters, Courchevel Airport has Europe’s highest tarmacked runway, which is only 537 meters long. Only turboprop planes may land there, and most commercial aircraft and private jets are prohibited due to safety concerns. Landing at this airport requires a “Qualification of Sight” license that fewer than 100 pilots have. Pilots must navigate through mountainous terrain while making a steep descent before hitting the uphill gradient of the runway.

3. Gibraltar International Airport (Gibraltar)
This airport requires pilots to cross Winston Churchill Avenue, a public street that connects to neighboring Spain. The street must be closed to cars whenever planes land or take off. The challenging terrain makes non-standard visual approaches necessary, and irregular winds around the area often cause turbulence.

4. Heathrow Airport (Longford, U.K.)
Because Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports, pilots must navigate through heavy traffic while in the air and when taxiing on the ground.

5. Innsbruck Airport (Innsbruck, Austria)
Pilots must land their aircraft in a mountain valley while avoiding a peak that stands almost 2,438 meters high. The surrounding terrain makes wind shear and turbulence serious concerns for pilots.

6. London City Airport (London, U.K.)
London City Airport was designed with business aviation in mind; however, recent infrastructure developments have led to more nearby skyscrapers, which make it difficult for pilots to land here. The airport can accommodate aircraft up to regional-sized jets, and takeoffs and landings must be performed at a five-degree angle, which is much steeper than the European standard of three degrees. Special certification and aircraft configuration is required.

7. Madeira Airport (Santa Cruz, Madeira, Portugal)
Pilots flying into Madeira Airport may have almost 3,000 meters of runway to land on, but the runway is partially built on a platform above the ocean. The rocky terrain and high winds surrounding the area do not make landing any easier for pilots.

8. Svalbard Airport, Longyear (Svalbard, Norway)
Svalbard Airport is the world’s northernmost commercial airport, located on a Norwegian island in the Arctic Ocean. It’s surrounded by steep terrain, which makes landing difficult for pilots. The most risky phenomena are high winds and slippery runways due to frequent adverse winter conditions. As a result, it requires specific procedures, and limitations apply.

9. Ataturk Airport (Istanbul, Turkey)
In recent years, the Ataturk Airport has seen a rapid increase in flights, which has not been accompanied by increased capabilities in air traffic control or airport infrastructure. It features challenging approaches such as non-standard descent angles and a non-standard go-around procedure because of crossing arrivals.

10. Airports in the Greek Islands
Many airports in the Greek islands experience a high volume of traffic in the summer holiday period. Most of them are not equipped with precision guidance technologies, despite weather conditions that are sometimes quite challenging, including crosswinds, turbulence and thunderstorms.

11. Airports in the Mediterranean Airspace
Many airports in the Mediterranean airspace suffer from frequent local thunderstorms during the summer. - TradeArabia News Service

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