Ketchikan’s airport among the most thrilling

KETCHIKAN, Alaska — A national newspaper has included Ketchikan International Airport in the list of the world’s 10 most thrilling airports for scary landings.

USA Today published the list of harrowing airports, as compiled by

Also on the list are an ice runway in Antarctica, which could potentially crack under a plane’s weight, and an airstrip in Africa where planes taxi off a cliff and fall a bit before catching air.

Ketchikan made the list because of a short runway, which is near the mountains and the ocean.

Borough Mayor Dave Kiffer told KRBD-FM that it’s unlikely Ketchikan is one of the top 10 most thrilling airports in the world.

“I’m not even sure we’re in the top-10 of thrilling airports in Alaska,” he said. “Certainly, there’s no question, I’ve had a lot more thrilling landings in places like Juneau and Sitka over the years, even Wrangell now and again, than I have had in Ketchikan,” Kiffer said.

Besides, he notes, he’s always thrilled when he flies into Ketchikan.

Any landing in Ketchikan now is much better than before the city had an airport.

Travelers had to take large planes to Annette Island, and then transfer to float planes to continue to Ketchikan.

“And those float planes landed on their bellies, and the water would splash up by the windows, and invariably, someone who never landed in Ketchikan before would scream,” he said.

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