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Flying On Ice: Coldest Airports In The World

28 December 2022

Flying On Ice: Coldest Airports In The World

The coldest airports in the world can be found in some of the most frigid and remote locations on Earth. These airports not only have to contend with extremely cold temperatures, but also harsh weather conditions such as high winds, snow, and ice.

Following the recent cold snap a couple of weeks ago which gripped the country and forced many of us to reach for that extra layer, here at we started to ponder where the coldest airports on Earth are and what conditions they manage to cope with to get passengers out and about.

When a sniff of sub zero weather causes flight providers in the UK to either have to delay or cancel flights and the impact that can have on the general public, let's take a look at how certain airports overcome a considerable bit more than a touch of frost.

  • Yakutsk Airport - Siberia, Russia

Yakutsk Airport is located in the Sakha Republic of Russia, also known as Siberia. It is one of the coldest airports in the world and experiences temperatures as low as -45°C in the winter. At that temperature, wearing metal framed glasses could result in you losing parts of your face as it sticks to the frame.

One of the reasons why it can get so cold, despite its latitude not being in the extreme northern degrees, is that it is surrounded by an impressive mountain range creating its own microclimate.

The airport here serves as a vital transport hub for the region, connecting Yakutsk to other cities in Russia. In fact, the airport's importance is even more significant in the fact that there are no roads that lead into Yakutsk, and rivers freeze up quickly following a short summer, only furthering the need for the airport to remain up and running all year round.

  • Alert Airport - Nunavut, Canada

Located on the North Eastern tip of Ellesmere Island, Canada, Alert Airport is another location where the mercury has been seen to dip down to nearly -50°C in the winter. The airport is named after the nearby military base, which is the most northerly permanent settlement in the world, serving a population size of around 55 people.

Built on rugged terrain, and permanently surrounded by pack ice, the airport was originally established as a weather station before the Canadian military began their own operations alongside the climate researchers.

The airport is now primarily used as a military transport hub, but can be used to help refuel chartered planes if they gain special permission – and even then they must be small due to the short runway.

  • Longyearbyen Airport - Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard is an Arctic archipelago located between Norway's mainland and the North Pole. It is home to around 2,000 people, mainly researchers and tourists.

During the winter, the island does not get any sunlight hours and regularly has to battle with -20°C to -30°C. The island is only one of four other inhabited countries that clock in average temperatures below zero.

Not only does Svalbard have to regularly battle with the hostile arctic winds, if you venture outside Longyearbyen's town limits, you're generally required to bring a gun with you. Why? Polar bears! With an estimated polar bear population of around 3,000, effective protection is required to not only ward off the weather, but also the 'King of the Arctic'.

We just hope they wear a hi-vis jacket if they venture out onto the runways.

Fortunately, most of our air bases in the UK used for Flying Experiences aren't quite so chilly as these. Visit our Airfields page on the FlyDays website today to see what locations are available to book flying day packages from with our open Gift Vouchers.

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