Let’s face it, no matter how fascinating the architecture or how great the selection of shops and services, the time we spend at the airport is often the most dreaded and mind-numbing part of our holiday. But what if we didn’t even have the fancy amenities to keep us busy while we wait to depart? After all, not all airports are built to look like shopping malls. Some are so small and basic that only airlines operating low cost flights use them.
Do you know where you’ll find the world’s smallest airports? Here are some we’ve heard about:
Saba Airport, Caribbean
Destination: Saba Island (special municipality of the Netherlands) / Eastern Caribbean
Airlines: Windward Islands Airways
This airport is located on the Caribbean island of Saba and is known for having the shortest runway in the world (only 0.2 miles long). For this reason, large aircraft cannot operate flights to this destination.
Windward Islands Airways offers daily flights to and from St. Martin; it is the only airline currently servicing this airport.
Moshoeshoe I. International Airport, Lesotho
Destination: Mazenod – 12.4 miles south of Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho
Airline: Mission Aviation Fellowship (domestic flights), South African Airways (international flights)
Despite the small size of the airport, South African Airways offers direct flights to and from Johannesburg. There are only 2 runways for take-off and landing, and in terms of airport amenities, you can find a small gift shop, a restaurant, a bar and a kiosk.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Destination: Luang Prabang, Laos
Airline: Bangkok Airways, Lao Airlines, Tonlesap Airlines, Vietnam Airlines
Although the airport has only one runway, the intention is to expand in the near future and increase the number of flights to this location. The airport itself has all the essential services: a few shops, a restaurant and a currency exchange centre.
Morgantown Municipal Airport, United States
Destination: Morgantown, West Virginia, United States
Airline: United Airlines
The airport is served by one commercial airline, United Airlines, which offers direct flights to Clarksburg and Washington. The runway is only 0.5 miles long, and you can even see how planes land and take-off from the restaurant. The airport also has a car park, a café and (believe it or not) free Wi-Fi.
St. Barts Airport (Gustaf III Airport), Caribbean
Destination: the island of Saint-Barthelemy, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean
Airlines: Air Antilles Express, St. Barth Commuter, Winair, Tradewind Aviation
Named in honour of King Gustav of Sweden who received the island from France in 1784, the airport is used by scheduled and charter flights; however, only single and twin-engine planes carrying no more than 20 passengers are allowed to land here. As it is located near the sea with a relatively short runway (only 0.4 miles long), it is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world.
Barra Airport, Scotland
Destination: Barra, Outer Hebrides / Scotland
The island’s airport is only open a few hours a day, and only from Monday to Friday. It’s in fact the only airport in the world using with a runway made out of sand!
Due to the constant unstable weather conditions, the arrival and departure times of the flights can vary. But despite its remote location, Barra Airport doesn’t fail to provide basic services such as parking, car rental and transportation to tourist attractions.
Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Nepal
Destination: Lukla, Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Airlines: Agni Air, Gorkha Airlines, Nepal Airlines, Sita Air, Tara Air
Lukla, a small village in Nepal, is often chosen by tourists as the starting point for their trekking adventure up Mt. Everest. For this reason, the airport was named after the first two people who successfully climbed the mountain in 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Due to its location and short runway, landing and taking-off at this airport is often a real challenge for pilots.
Svalbard Airport, Longyear, Svalbard
Destination: Longyearbyen, Svalbard / Norway
Airlines: Arktikugol, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines
Svalbard is an archipelago halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Although the airport is small, many airlines operate flights to this destination. With Scandinavian Airlines you can even book direct flights to Oslo or multi-stop flights to Stockholm.
What was the smallest airport you’ve ever been to?