Smallest Airports In The World

By Wiley Stickney

Published on

Juancho e Yrausquin Airport, Image Credit: Lets Travel More

Hey there, travel buddies! With folks jetting around the globe like never before, airports have become so much more than just places to catch a flight. Nowadays, the big ones are like mini-cities with shopping malls, fancy restaurants, and even swimming pools! But you know what? There’s something truly special about the smaller, more intimate airports scattered across the world. For aviation geeks, these tiny hubs offer a front-row seat to all the action, letting you get up close and personal with the aircraft. And even for us casual travelers, watching skilled pilots navigate those compact runways is an absolute thrill, making you appreciate their expertise even more. So, let’s take a look at some of the world’s most adorably tiny airports, shall we?

Juancho e Yrausquin Airport (SAB)

First up, we’ve got the Juancho e Yrausquin Airport on the beautiful Caribbean island of Saba, which is actually part of the Netherlands. Get this – it’s home to the shortest commercial runway in the entire world, measuring just 400 meters long! And talk about a challenging location – this little strip is surrounded by cliffs and the ocean on three sides. But the pilots from Windward Islands Airways handle those short hops to neighboring islands like Saint Martin and Saint Eustatius with total ease.

Location: Saba Island, Netherlands

Airline: Windward Islands Airways

Fun fact: Boasts the shortest commercial runway on the planet!

Moshoeshoe I International Airport (MSU)

Next, we’ve got the Moshoeshoe I International Airport, named after a 19th-century king of Lesotho. Despite its modest size, with just two runways (one of them only 1000 meters long), this little guy handles both domestic and international flights, including routes to Johannesburg in South Africa.

Now, there might be some delays from time to time, but at least you can kill time by grabbing a bite or doing a little shopping at the airport’s bars, restaurants, and gift shops – not too shabby for such a compact place, right? Oh, and get this – being situated around 5,000 feet above sea level makes Moshoeshoe I one of the highest airports in Africa. How cool is that?

Location: Mazenod, Lesotho

Airlines: Mission Aviation Fellowship (domestic), South African Airways (international)

Barra Airport

Alright, let’s head over to Scotland now, where we’ll find the Barra Airport on the picturesque Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. This quirky little gem is not only the smallest airport in the UK and all of Europe, but it’s also got one of its three runways made entirely of sand! Can you imagine landing a plane on an actual beach? It’s a sight to behold, for sure, though flights do have to work around those high tides.

In fact, the unique beach landings have made Barra Airport a bit of a celebrity in the filmmaking world, with directors flocking here to capture those one-of-a-kind aerial scenes. And just in case you need to get around once you’ve landed, the airport has car rental services too. How convenient is that?

Location: Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Airlines: LoganAir

Morgantown Municipal Airport

Morgantown Municipal Airport, Image Credit: Morgantown Municipal Airport

Let’s swing by West Virginia next, where we’ll find the humble Morgantown Municipal Airport. This little guy might only be serviced by a single commercial airline (United Airlines), but it still manages to offer flights to Clarksburg, West Virginia, and Washington D.C., which is pretty nifty. With a runway just 844 meters long, it’s a cozy setting for watching those skilled pilots do their thing up close.

Location: West Virginia, United States

Airline: United Airlines

Tenzing-Hillary Airport

Now, let’s head over to Nepal, a hotspot for adventurers and mountain climbers gearing up to take on the mighty Everest. The village of Lukla is often the starting point for these expeditions, and it’s here that you’ll find the Tenzing-Hillary Airport, named after the legendary Everest summiteers Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

But let me tell you, this airport is no joke. We’re talking a runway that’s just 527 meters long, with an 11.7% gradient, and sheer cliffs on either side. Yikes! While there have been some tragic accidents here over the years, most flights navigate these intense challenges like total pros. And thank goodness they do, because this airport is a lifeline for the thousands of adventurers who pass through each year on their way to the Himalayas.

Location: Lukla, Nepal

Airlines: Agni Air, Gorkha Airlines, Nepal Airlines, Sita Air, Tara Air

Luang Prabang Airport

Our next stop is the charming Luang Prabang Airport in Laos. While it might be on the smaller side, this little guy is actually the second-largest airport in the whole country! Pretty impressive, right? Even more impressive is the fact that it offers flights to neighboring countries like Thailand, Cambodia, China, and Vietnam, keeping folks well-connected in this part of the world.

Sure, it’s a compact space, but you’ll still find all the typical airport amenities here, like restaurants and shops to keep you fed and entertained while you wait for your flight. And in case you’re wondering, the airport did get a bit of a makeover in the early 2000s, with its lone runway being extended to a more substantial 2,200 meters to accommodate larger aircraft. Gotta love a little airport that keeps evolving with the times!

Location: Laos

Airlines: Bangkok Airways, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Lao Airlines, Tonlesap Airlines, Vietnam Airlines

Lastly, let’s give a shoutout to the Dawson Community Airport in Montana, which holds the distinction of being the smallest commercial airport in the entire United States, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. It might be tiny, but it’s a super convenient gateway for travelers looking to explore the stunning natural beauty of Montana’s national parks.

Location: Montana, United States

Airline: Cape Air

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, airports aren’t just about size – these little guys play a huge role in connecting remote destinations, whether it’s rugged mountainsides, serene tropical islands, or breathtaking national parks. And sure, you might not find massive shopping malls here, but watching those pilots work their magic on those tiny runways is a show in itself! Here’s to the unsung heroes of the skies who make it all possible.

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.