Don’t panic in Paro
Paro Airport in the Himalayan country of Bhutan is “one of the world’s most challenging airports” according to Boeing.
And if it’s challenging for the pilots, it’s anything from an adventure to a nightmare for the passengers.
Only one airline flies into Paro: Bhutan’s national carrier DRUK AIR. In their in-flight magazine, they write that they’ve offered the route to other airlines, but that no other dared to fly into this extremely difficult airport.
Paro airport is at the end of a deep Himalayan valley.
To land there, the pilot has to follow the meandering valley for miles and miles, tracing every turn of the river below.
All the while, the pilot gradually has to bring the aircraft down lower and lower and be careful not to scrape the mountains on either side of the plane.
When we flew into Paro this morning, the first officer even warned the passengers that the descent would be a little rough. He said due to the winter weather, turbulences were likely.
So in addition to the Himalayian mountains nearly touching the tips of your wings on both sides, this time our plane also got shaken pretty violently.
Landing at Paro is nothing for the faint hearted – especially at this time of year.
This is the only airport I know where I think it might be justified to applaud the pilot after a successful landing.