Five of the shortest flights in the world

12 Jan 2011

Despite the rough economic climate that led many carriers to downsize their operations, five of the world’s shortest flights managed to keep their wings by serving niche routes.


Duration of flight: Two minutes

Route: Flies between Westray and Papa Westray, both of which belong to the Orkney Islands located to the north of Scotland.

Frequency: Six times a week

Background: This Scottish airline flies regionally and between the Orkney Islands. The inter-island services run as air taxis not only for the residents of the islands but also for the Scottish Air Ambulance Service and Royal Mail. Even for this brief journey, passengers have to check in 20 minutes before departure.



Duration of flight: 15 minutes

Route: Operates between Taitung and Green Island, a small island off the eastern coast of Taiwan

Frequency: Three times a day on a daily basis

Background: Established in 1992, the Taipei-based airline is focused solely on flying between the islands, although it accepts specially arranged charter flights.



Duration of flight: 20 minutes

Route: Between Zanzibar and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania

Frequency: Three times a day on a daily basis

Background: ZanAir is a domestic carrier based in Zanzibar with a small fleet of just seven aircraft. The airline provides charter flights too.



Duration of flight: 35 minutes

Route: Mumbai to Pune, both of which are in the Indian state of Maharashtra

Frequency: One flight daily

Background: Mumbai-based Jet Airways is the only truly international airline to provide such a short domestic flight. At the height of the recession in 2008, Jet Airways had to layoff at least 1,900 staff and cut certain routes. This route weathered the storm perhaps because it significantly shortens travel time, which takes four hours by road.



Duration of flight: 35 minutes

Route: Bahrain to Dammam

Frequency: Between two times a day on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, three times a day on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays, and four times a day on Thursdays.

Background: Since Bahrain is an island country and Dammam is in Saudi Arabia, this flight is the shortest international flight, crossing the borders of the two countries. Gulf Air also provides bus services on this route, which takes two hours.


Alisha Haridasani

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