Fly in 30 minutes: the shortest flights in the world

Fly in 30 minutes: the shortest flights in the world

It seems that the flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg is very short: the plane has just gained altitude, and the pilot is already announcing the descent. You don’t even have time to eat properly in an hour and a half, are there really shorter flights? But is it possible to buy a plane ticket and spend, say, half an hour in the air? It turns out that it is possible. We learned about the shortest flights in the world.

Westray – Papa Westray, Scotland

Airline: Lognair
Travel time: from 53 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on wind direction)
Rout length: 2.7 km
Status: active

The shortest commercial flight in the world takes just a few minutes and runs between the two Scottish islands of Westray and Papa Westray. Passengers spend less than five minutes on an airplane, with half of that time spent starting the engine, taking off and braking. Interestingly, the distance between points – 2.7 km – is slightly longer than the average runway length at large airports.

On weekdays the plane flies in both directions. On Saturday the flight operates only from Westray to Papa Westray, returning only on Sunday. Flight tickets cost £17 (1,285 rubles) one way.

Who needs this flight anyway? It is carried by local residents, mainly students and teachers from Westray: the fact is that there are more than 60 archaeological sites and excavations in Papa Westray. Doctors and patients sometimes use the plane: about 90 people live on Papa Westray Island, but there are no medical facilities there. And of course, the flight is popular with tourists.

The flight operates two Pilatus Britten-Norman BN2B-26 Islander aircraft. The aircraft is controlled by one pilot and has seating for eight people in the passenger cabin plus one seat in the cockpit next to the pilot.

Kinshasa – Brazzaville

Airline: Camair-Co, ASKY, formerly Ethiopian Airlines
Travel time: 35 minutes
Route length: 26 kilometers
Status: active

In this story, one geographical name is repeated many times: the flight connects the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the capital of the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville),

and the cities are located on different banks of the Congo River.

There are 6 flights per week. Airplanes of three airlines fly between the cities: Cameroonian Camair-Co, Pan-African ASKY and Ethiopian Ethiopian Airlines. A flight between the two capitals is not a cheap pleasure; on average, a round trip ticket costs about $630.

You can also get from Kinshasa to Brazzaville by ferry ($5 for a one-way ticket) or speedboat ($25). The fastest way is by boat – about 15 minutes on the way. But allow about another hour to cross the border, plus get ready for local color and queues.

Tangier – Gibraltar

Airline: Royal Air Maroc
Travel time: 40-50 minutes
Route length: 69 km
Status: active

Morocco Airlines offers regular flights between the northernmost point of the country, the city of Tangier, and Gibraltar, which belongs to the UK. There are only two flights per week, on Thursdays and Sundays. The plane is not a small “corner”, but a quite impressive ATR72 with 70 seats, the cabin is divided into economy and business classes. The cheapest ticket will cost a little more than 6,000 rubles.

If you don’t like airplanes, ferries go along approximately the same route. True, the journey will take a little longer – you will have to swim for about an hour and a half.

St. Gallen-Alternrhein – Friedrichshafen

Airline: People’s Viennaline, Austria
Travel time: 8 minutes after gaining altitude, total duration is about 20 minutes.
Route length: 21 km
Status: closed since April 14

Unfortunately, the shortest flight in the world was closed just a couple of weeks ago. From the Swiss city of St. Gallen-Altenrhein to the German Friedrichshafen it was possible to fly in just 8 minutes, and the flight was operated by a large jet aircraft. The airline launched the flight in November 2016, but was never able to reach the planned passenger turnover.

Why was the flight launched at all? The fact is that the cities are separated by Lake Constance, and the journey from St. Gallen-Altenrhein to Friedrichshafen by train takes two hours. The airline decided that such a flight would be in demand, and they also hoped that with its appearance it would be possible to develop business tourism in Friedrichshafen. But the calculation failed, not least because of the high price: a one-way ticket cost 40 euros.

Vienna – Bratislava

Airline: FlyNiki
Travel time: 10 minutes after gaining altitude
Route length: 48 km
Status: cancelled

The Austrian low-cost airline planned to start flights between Vienna and Bratislava in April 2015. In fact, this flight was needed by the airline to operate flights from the capital of Slovakia – obviously, it is cheaper than from Vienna. So, in order not to simply ferry empty planes from one city to another, it was decided to sell air tickets for them. FlyNiki wanted to operate up to 6 flights a week, but the plans did not come true: the airline decided not to move part of its office to Bratislava.
The flight was already quite pointless: if you need to get from Vienna to Bratislava, the smartest thing to do is to do it by car – the distance between the two capitals is just under 50 km, and the journey takes less than an hour.

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