List of the 13 Shortest Runways in the World

The runway is a critical component of an airport, yet many do not meet the industry standard because of space limitations. Large airports that accommodate the highest traffic require at least 2011 meters (6,000 ft.) for safe landings and takeoffs. Nevertheless, various circumstances may compel operators to use shorter and smaller airports.

Airports in remote or precarious locations have little to no space for setting up a runway. These are the locations that have the shortest runways in the world. In addition, they also control the types of aircraft that may land.

If you have ever been curious to learn about the shortest runways in the world, look at the thirteen we have listed here.

1. Westray Airport, Scotland

Westray Airport is an airport located on Westray in the Orkney Islands in Scotland. It is known as one of the two airports joined by the shortest scheduled flight globally.

The Westray Airport might also be the shortest commercial runway in the world. It is only 291 meters (955 ft.) long. The Westray Aerodrome has a CAA ordinary license allowing flights for public transportation of passengers of flying instructions as authorized.

2. Netherthorpe Airfield, England

Netherthorpe Aerodrome is located two nautical miles northwest of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England. The aerodrome is found within a local landowner’s estate and is operated by the Sheffield Aero Club with three hangars.

The airfield has a 382-meter (1,253 ft.) long runway, the second-shortest commercial runway in the world.

3. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba

The Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, found on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Saba, is one of the most talked-about airports with the shortest runway. The runway is only 400 meters long (1,312 ft.) and is the only official landing strip on the island.

Saba has the shortest commercially-used runway in regards to single-strip airports. It is located on a cliff which makes it a spectacular sight. Only scheduled flights can use the runway, although charter flights connect the airport to neighboring islands.

4. Heligoland, Germany

The Heligoland Airport is located in the German archipelago called Heligoland on the Island of Dune. The airport has three runways, with the shortest being 258 meters (846 ft.) long.

However, the short one is rarely used because the main one is only 480 meters long (1,575 ft.). The runway was initially 400 meters (1,312.34 ft.) long and was only adjusted in the mid-2000s to comply with airport regulations.

5. Lukla, Nepal

One of the most talked-about short runaways is found at the Tenzing-Hillary Airport (LUA) in Lukla, Nepal. The runway is only 527 meters long (1,729 ft.) with a steep incline of 11.7% and remained unpaved until 2001.

This airport is primarily used by people traveling to climb Mount Everest and is found at the starting point of the mountain’s base camp.

6. Courchevel Airport, France


The Courchevel Airport serves the ski resort in the French Alps and has one of the shortest runways. The facility has a 537-meter long runway (1,762 ft.) and is specifically used by helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft.

The runway is on a mountain at a 2,008 m elevation with an 18.6% gradient and no lighting aids, affecting landing. Originally it was 1,230 feet long but had to be extended for the 1992 Winter Olympics. The width was extended from 40 m (131.2 ft.) to 80 m (262.46 ft.).

7. Kars/Rideau Valley AirPark, Canada

Rideau Valley AirPark, also known as Kars, is a registered aerodrome found three nautical miles south of Kars, Ottawa, on the Shore of the Rideau River.

The airport has one 594-meter (1,800 ft.) grass runaway and operates mostly glider and ultralight traffic. This makes the runway one of the shortest in the world.

8. Cordova Municipal Airport, Alaska

Cordova Municipal Airport is a state-owned public airport located less than two nautical miles east of the central business district of Cordova in Alaska.

The airport has one of the shortest runways globally and is mostly used as a landing area for seaplanes. The runway is 549 meters (1,800 ft.) long and operates 8,800 flights every year.

9. Pukaki Airport, New Zealand

The Pukaki Airport is a small airport located in the Mackenzie District of the South Island of New Zealand. The airport has a fully automated Met Service weather station, fuel supplies, and eight hangars. Besides, it also has one of the shortest runways in the world.

It is only 550 meters (1,804 ft.) long. The resident operators provide charter and scenic flights from the airfield, used as a filming location for years.

10. John A Osborne Airport, Montserrat

The John A Osborne Airport is located on Montserrat’s British Overseas Territory island in the Caribbean Sea. It was built in 2005 and had a 552.9-meter (1,814 ft.) long runway. There is a short road below the runway through a tunnel.

The airport was built to improve access to the island, which could only be accessed through helicopters and ships between 1997 and 2005. FlyMontserrat operates the regular airport services to Antigua with more charter flights to Caribbean destinations.

11. Gustaf III Airport, Saint Barthelemy

The Gustaf III Airport is found in St-Jean, in Saint Barthelemy, a well-known volcanic island. The airport also has one of the shortest commercial runways globally, measuring only 650.1 meters (2,133 ft.).

The airport is also called the Remy de Haenen Airport or Saint Barthelemy. Aircrafts landing at the airport must approach a download slope on the edge of a steep hill, ending on a short stretch of the beach, meaning people cannot sunbathe in the area.

12. Barra Airport, Scotland

Barra Airport is located on Barra Island in northern Scotland and is one of the few airports to have runways running through the beach. It has three runways demarcated using wooden poles in the sand.

The shortest runway is 680 m (2,231 ft.), with others stretching over 798 meters (2,621 ft.) and 846 m (2,776 ft.). Flights can only be made during low tide because the runways are covered with water with the rising tide.

The airport handles over 10,000 passengers yearly, with more than 1,400 aircraft movements.

13. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Canada

The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is located on the Toronto Islands in Canada. It is a small airport that serves the Toronto city center and has two runways.

The shortest is only 749 meters (2,460 ft.) long, and the longest is 1,215 meters (3,988 ft.) long. The airport is accessible from the city through a pedestrian tunnel from Eireann Quay and a regular ferry.

Originally posted on April 21, 2022 @ 11:51 am