Checking Out the World’s Lowest Airports

By Wiley Stickney

Published on

Bar Yehuda Airfield (MTZ)
Bar Yehuda Airfield, Image Credit:

After exploring the highest airports worldwide, let’s take a fun look at their counterparts down in the depths.

You’d be surprised to know that the ten lowest airports are actually nestled below sea level – not because they’re underwater, but thanks to the mean global sea level.

So where do we find these remarkably low civilian airports? Let’s dive in!

Bar Yehuda Airfield (MTZ)

Tucked along the desert shoreline of the Dead Sea in Israel, Bar Yehuda Airfield sits at the lowest point on Earth, reaching a whopping 1,266 feet below the mean sea level. That makes it the world’s lowest civilian airport – how cool is that?

Location: Masada, Israel
Elevation: -1,266 ft / -386 m

Furnace Creek Airport (DTH)

Embracing the eerie beauty of Death Valley, Furnace Creek Airport lies just west of Furnace Creek, California. At 208 feet below sea level, it claims the title of America’s lowest civilian airport and the world’s second-lowest overall. Spooky!

Location: California, USA Elevation: -208 ft / -63 m

Cliff Hatfield Memorial Airport (CLR)

Adding to California’s list of low-altitude airports is the Cliff Hatfield Memorial Airport, owned by the city and open to the public down in southern California.

Location: California, USA
Elevation: -182 ft / -55 m

Brawley Municipal Airport (BWC)

Also in the sunny state of California, the Brawley Municipal Airport sits just a mile northeast of Brawley, an area famous for its huge agricultural operations.

Location: California, USA
Elevation: -128 ft / -39 m

Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport (TRM)

You guessed it, the world’s fifth-lowest airport is yet another one from California! The Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport nestle 114 feet below sea level, just above the Brawley Municipal Airport.

In California’s diverse landscape, these low-lying airports certainly carve out their own unique niches.

Location: California, USA
Elevation: -114 ft / -35 m

Atyrau Airport (GUW)

Leaving the Golden State behind, let’s check out the world’s lowest international airport. Atyrau Airport in Atyrau, Kazakhstan serves as a gateway to the Middle East and Europe with international flights.

Location: Atyrau, Kazakhstan
Elevation: -72 ft / -22 m

Ramsar International Airport (RZR)

Iran is home to the second-lowest international airport globally – Ramsar International Airport, standing just 2 feet higher than its closest low-lying counterpart.

Location: Ramsar, Iran
Elevation: -70 ft / -21 m

Imperial County Airport (IPL)

Back to California, we come across the eighth-lowest airport worldwide, Imperial County Airport. Handling both passenger and cargo flights to LA and Ontario, it plays a key role in regional transportation.

Location: California, USA
Elevation: -54 ft / -16 m

Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM)

Situated 15 feet below sea level is Rotterdam The Hague Airport, the lowest airport in the Netherlands and all of Europe. Despite its subterranean setting, it serves as a vital aviation hub for the region.

Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Elevation: -15 ft / -5 m

Lelystad Airport (LEY)

Rounding out our list is Lelystad Airport, the second-lowest airport in the Netherlands and Europe. With an elevation of 13 feet below sea level, it secures its place as the tenth lowest civilian airport globally.

Location: Lelystad, Netherlands
Elevation: -13 ft / -4 m

Wiley is a former commercial pilot and flight instructor, who has flown over 50 different types of aircraft, from small propellers to large jets. He writes about the technical aspects of flying, such as aircraft design, aerodynamics, navigation, weather, and safety.