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Video: The Most Dangerous Airport in the World?

Nestled high in the foothills of the Himalaya, the airport at Lukla, Nepal, has a white-knuckle reputation among adventure travelers. But is this rep justified?

You can decide for yourself with this short video shot by REI staff photographer Damon P. Our intrepid shutterbug was in Nepal last December for the Everest Base Camp trek offered by REI Adventures.

A short flight from Kathmandu, Lukla is the jumping-off point for treks into the Everest region. The Lukla airport—now officially named the Tenzing-Hillary Airport after the legendary Everest climbers—is famous for its tight approach amid towering mountains and its short, sloping runway. Its thin air (9,100 feet elevation) and variable weather add to the fear factor.

Take a look. What airport ranks as "most dangerous" in your experience?


Posted on at 2:53 PM

Tagged: Everest Base Camp, Lukla airport, REI Adventures, Travel and nepal

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That takes the cake for me, but my father in law, who has traveled the world, recently got back from Honduras and said that the Tegucigalpa approach was by far the hairiest he's been on. You can't see the turn of the approach, but you bank sharply, then graze over the top of a mountain as you drop down to the runway. See it here:

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Bionic Trekker

Both of these look pretty hairy, but I'll add Quito Ecuador as being up there. The airport is right in the middle of the city (they are building a new one further out) at over 9,000 feet in a steep valley with 13,000+ foot mountains all around. Not to mention high winds and iffy weather. On a recent flight into Quito the pilot bailed just prior to touch down and banked so steeply going back up for a second go that some of the overheads popped open. I felt like I was on an amusement park ride.


I have had the pleasure of visiting both Tegucigalpa and Quito..both are teeth grinding-butt clenching experiences for sure!! Flying out is much more relaxing. I will make a comment about the Tegucigalpa cliff airport..there are gruesome scars on the cliff face from back when they were allowed to fly in the dark..pilot didn't quite make THAT'S a horrible sight!


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