Landing at Paro Airport has been described by many people as breathtaking. Conversely, the tiny airstrip situated a mile and a half above sea level has also been described as completely terrifying and is roundly regarded as one of the most challenging airports to land in the world.
Coming out of the clouds toward Paro Airport, you are likely to see 18,000 foot peaks of the Himalayas on one or both sides of you. At 6,500 feet long, the runway at Paro is actually shorter than its elevation, and few pilots are even certified to fly into the Himalayan valley. Besides the danger of flying through some of the world’s tallest peaks, the runway is carved out of the mountain foliage, and pilots must also account for vicious winds that sweep through the valley.
Despite the challenges associated with the airport, the eight pilots that are certified to land at the airport still manage to bring over 30,000 people per year into the mountainous Asian country.