Courchevel Airport, France
Courchevel Airport serves Courchevel, a ski resort in the French Alps. It’s in touching distance from the ski slopes and thousands of people use it every year on the way to their dream ski holiday. Excited for their winter break, they may not realise the risk they are taking by flying here.
Like many other airports in snowy mountainous locations, it’s particularly dangerous and challenging to navigate. With very limited flat land space high in the Alps, this small airport was built with an alarmingly short runway. It has a down gradient of 18.5%, causing it to be difficult to reach – and that’s on a good day. On a bad day, poor weather can make a landing here almost impossible. Even a small amount of fog renders the airport completely invisible to pilots. And to make it even harder, the airport has no lights or landing aids.
At a normal commercial airport, pilots can fly back round if a landing goes wrong and is too dangerous. But at Courchevel, the precarious position of the airport means there are no second chance landings here.