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19th Aug 2023

Only 24 pilots are allowed to land on the world’s toughest airport runway

Joseph Loftus

There’s a pretty common rule when flying: when concerned look to the air stewards. If they look nervous, you should be nervous. But if they’re still smiling, everything’s just alright

I remember once, landing in Scotland, we hit the runway like a tonne of bricks, and the air stewardess was not smiling and neither was I.

But this was Edinburgh and some runways in the world are much more challenging than Edinburgh.

For instance, Paro Airport in Bhutan is recognised by many as the most difficult runway to land on in the world. In fact, it’s so dangerous that only 24 pilots are reported to be allowed to land there as it’s so hazardous.

Getty Images

According to reports there are over 100 potential hazards which pilots have to avoid while landing in Paro.

Not only this, but the geography around Paro Airport means that technology can’t even be used there.

There is no talks with traffic control, no high tech computer. To land at Paro Airport you’ve got to do it using little more than your eyes, your experience, and your trembling sweaty hands.

The runway at Park is also ridiculously short and if that wasn’t terrifying enough for you, the final turn for the runway has to be made just 30 seconds before touchdown.

And these are the reasons why Paro Airport is so dangerous and why only a few specially selected pilots can land there.

I’ll walk thanks.

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