The world’s shortest air routes CNN Travel

The world's shortest air routes CNN Travel

(CNN) – The coronavirus pandemic has been the most financially disastrous force in the secular history of commercial air transport.

The crisis has also raised some unusual aviation benchmarks, as airlines take unprecedented measures for unprecedented times.

In March, a Qantas A380 made a historic direct flight between Australia and London, to circumnavigate a travel ban in Singapore.

And now, in the United States, the requirement to keep essential air links intact in order to qualify for government bailout funds means that airlines are introducing short-haul temporary routes. So, only for a short time did North America’s last shorter domestic flight enter service.

Want to fly across Colorado today on the 29-mile route between the mountain communities of Eagle-Vail and Aspen? A one-way trip will cost you $ 251 on American Airlines, but we hope you have a very good reason to book.

Aviation blog A view from the wing reports that airlines are introducing multi-hop “tag flights” to meet their service obligations as efficiently as possible at a time when demand for air travel decreased by 96%.

American Airlines has confirmed to CNN Travel that the flight from Eagle County Airport (EGE) to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE) is scheduled until June 1, 2020 and is part of a larger Dallas / Fort Worth – Eagle – Aspen – Montrose – Dallas / Fort Worth round trip. The journey from Eagle-Vail to Aspen takes only 35 minutes.

To mark this, and to spend these weeks where most of us are firmly rooted in our neighborhoods, here is a list of air routes which, before the Covid-19 crisis, stood out for being the shortest commercial flights on the planet. What is it like to fly when you are in sight of your final destination?

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Shortest regular commercial flight in North America

The American island of Nantucket.


Barnstaple Municipal Airport at Nantucket Memorial Airport (Massachusetts)

airline company: Cape Air. (HYA-ACK). Distance: 30.07 miles (49.07 kilometers).

There are some regular commercial flights in North America that hover around the 30-mile mark – the 32.16-mile journey between the Canadian Billy Bishop Toronto City airport and the Niagara District airport, the 31.09 journey miles between the Alaska Municipal Airport of Petersburg and Wrangell Airport – but the shortest of all can be found in Massachusetts.

It is located just 30.49 miles between Barnstaple Municipal Airport on Cape Cod and Nantucket Memorial Airport, which in turn only likes three miles outside of Nantucket city center.

The route is regularly served by Cape Air, which is located outside of Barnstaple Airport.

Shorter international commercial flight

Sint Maarten (Dutch Caribbean) to Anguilla (British Overseas Territory)

The airport approach to the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten is not regularly rated as one of the best in the world the most scenic, is home to the world’s shortest international commercial flight route: the 10-minute, 12-mile journey between Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) and Anguilla Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA).

Other super short international routes from Sint Maarten include the 15 minute and 20 mile trip to the French overseas collectivity of St Barts.

Shorter regular commercial flight

Westray to Papa Westray (Scotland)

airline company: Loganair. (WRY-PPW). Distance: two miles (three kilometers).
A narrow body of water separates the Orkney Islands of Westray and Papa Westray, off the north coast of Scotland. Scottish airline Loganair has operated an airlift between these two small Scottish islands for about 50 years, making it the shortest non-stop regular flight anywhere in the world.

The flight, operated by an eight-seat Britten-Norman Islander plane, lasts just over a minute, but sometimes lasted less than 53 seconds, depending on the tail wind.

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“This route is mainly used by the people of the Orkney Islands for their daily activities,” says Andy Thornton, director of flight operations at Loganair. “It is used by teachers, the local police officer, the banker and children who go to school. However, it is also a passionate path for tourists and aviation enthusiasts.”

(Maybe) the shortest commercial flight

Kegata in Apowo (Papua, Indonesia)

Distance 1.3 miles (two kilometers).

They are only 1.3 nautical miles apart and far apart, but the settlements on the Papuan hill of Kegata and Apowo are separated by a deep wooded valley in an isolated part of Indonesia. Traveling between the two villages by land involves an arduous journey through the dense jungle and steep mountains.

Much better if you can jump through that big ravine on Matt Dearden’s Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter, a sturdy single-engine plane that can accommodate up to 10 passengers.

Dearden, a British pilot who operates local air services in remote areas of Papua, has operated several revenue services on this route. Although not a regular connection, his travels carried paying passengers, making him probably the shortest commercial flight anywhere in the world.

The rough and wet grass and the scenic slopes, dramatically perched on the tops of the mountains, are certainly an experience.

“Both strips of air in question are short, about 350 meters for Kegata and 400 meters for Apowo, wet slippery grass inclined towards the ground,” says Dearden. “Like many overhead strips in Papua, there are no obstacles once you’re busy landing!”

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Shorter intercontinental regular commercial flight

Since it launched the company in 1957, Royal Air Maroc has grown into a fleet of 54 aircraft.

Since it launched the company in 1957, Royal Air Maroc has grown into a fleet of 54 aircraft.

KARIM SAHIB / AFP / Getty Images / File

Tangier (Morocco) to Gibraltar (British overseas territory)

Only nine miles separate Europe and Africa from the narrowest point of the Strait of Gibraltar. Fast ferries operate this route constantly. However, those who wish to avoid the waters moved between the two continental masses have an alternative to Royal Air Maroc.

The Moroccan flag carrier offers a regular flight, operated by turboprop ATR-72 aircraft, which connects Tangier, at the northern end of Morocco, to the British territory of Gibraltar.

Shorter flight between two national capitals

Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo)

Airline companies: ASKY is Camair-Co. Distance: 16 miles (26 kilometers). This is the story of two congos.

Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville), face each other through the muddy waters of the Congo River.

Before the pandemic, two airlines flew between the two cities, ASKY, a Pan-African airline operating through West Africa and Cameroon, Cameroon.

It remains to be seen what the landscape will be when operations resume slowly and airlines will cope with the financial repercussions of the coronavirus crisis.


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