Saturday, June 22, 2024

The European airport with one of the scariest landings in the world

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Approximately 100,000 flights take off and land every day worldwide, with fatal incidents being extremely rare. Data shows that the most dangerous portion of a flight occurs in the small window of take-off and landing, which is just four percent of the average flight, but is also where 49 percent of fatal accidents typically occur.

There are some airports in the world where the risk of landing increases due to the expertise needed to manoeuvre onto the runway.

One of the world’s “hardest” runway landings and one that will leave you gripping onto the armrests is tucked away in the French Alps.

Courchevel Altiport, in France, is known for its very short runway of only 537 metres with a gradient of 18.6 percent, making it one of the hardest airports to land at according to experts from Simple Flying.

“While the airport has an elevation of over 6,500 feet, what makes operating flights to Courchevel hazardous is its runway,” they explained. The experts added: “Pilots would have to be precise with their aircraft and have to land on their first attempt.”

Due to the surrounding mountainous terrain, there is no go-around procedure for landings at Courchevel meaning pilots must get it right the first time.

Therefore, pilots landing into this airport must have received specific training to aid their landing.

Most of the planes which land at the airport are run by private companies, with the exception of Alpine Airlines, currently the only company worldwide to offer commercial flights to Courchevel Altiport.

Private owners can use the runway for small and medium jets if they fly on their own, but commercial companies must follow stricter safety regulations.

Despite how difficult landing onto the runway is, there have been just seven accidents since 2016, with the most recent occurring in February 2024.

At the time, the Financial Times reported a single-engined Pilatus PC-12, veered off the runway, lost a wing and ended up in the snow. The plane was not carrying any passengers and the two pilots onboard reported only suffering from concussion.

If you’d rather avoid the risky landing into Courchevel, the nearest large airport to the ski resort is Chambery, though most international visitors tend to fly into Geneva and take a car or bus transfer.

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