Smallest Runway in the World 2024

While Juancho Airport is recognized as having the smallest runway in the world measuring just 400 meters, Inkom airport in Idaho is the true airport with the smallest runway in the world with a very short runway measuring just 122 meters, almost three times smaller than Juancho.

It is possible that most publications that list Juancho airport as having the shortest runway mean to only list commercial airports or publicly-owned airports. Inkom Airport is privately-owned and does not serve commercial airlines.

What is a runway?

A runway is a long strip of hard, level ground on an airport that airplanes use for takeoffs and landings. The length of a runway varies depending on the type and size of aircraft using it as well as the amount of traffic at the airport.

For small general aviation airports, the shortest runways are typically around 2,000 feet (600 meters). For commercial airports, the shortest runways are typically around 5,000 feet (1,500 meters).

Larger airports such as O’Hare have 8 runways but most airports have 2 to 3 runways measuring an average of about 3000 ft.

What’s the minimum runway length for small planes?

A: For small planes such as Cessna 172, FAA requires a minimum runway length of 300 feet (92 meters) at mean sea level. For airport runways located above sea level, the FAA recommends increasing the runway length at the rate of 0.03 x airport elevation above mean sea level to obtain the minimum runway length at that elevation.

Paved vs. unpaved runways

Most airports have paved runways, which are made of concrete or asphalt. Paved runways are more durable and can handle more traffic than unpaved runways.

Unpaved runways are made of gravel, grass, or dirt. They are typically found at small airports and airstrips.

There may be smaller unpaved runways that serve smaller aircraft in the US and may not appear on this list.

How is Juancho Airport’s runway so short?

The runway at Juancho Airport is only 400 meters (1,312 feet) long. That is shorter than the length of four football fields! The airport is located on the island of Juancho, which is part of the Espanola Island chain in the Galapagos Islands.

The airport is only used by small planes and helicopters. It was originally built for use by the Ecuadorian Air Force, but is now mostly used by tour operators who bring tourists to the Galapagos Islands.

How is Inkom Airport’s runway even shorter?

The runway at Inkom Airport is only 122 meters (400 feet) long. That is shorter than the length of one football field! The airport is located in Inkom, Idaho, which is a small town in southeastern Idaho.

The airport is privately owned and does not serve commercial airlines. It is mostly used by general aviation traffic, including small planes and helicopters.

Why do airports have different size runways?

The size of an airport’s runway is determined by the type and size of aircraft using it as well as the amount of traffic at the airport.

For small general aviation airports, the shortest runways are typically around 2,000 feet (600 meters). For commercial airports, the shortest runways are typically around 5,000 feet (1,500 meters).

What is the difference between a runway and a taxiway?

A runway is a long strip of hard, level ground on an airport that airplanes use for takeoffs and landings. A taxiway is a strip of hard, level ground on an airport that connects the runway to the apron (where the planes park).

Why do some runways have numbers and some have letters?

The numbering system for runways is based on the magnetic compass heading of the runway. Runways that are parallel to each other (runways that are next to each other with the same orientation) will have the same number but different letters.

For example, if there are two runways side-by-side oriented in a north-south direction, they will both be runway 06. But if one is runway 06R and the other is runway 06L, that means that runway 06R is the right side runway (as you’re facing north) and runway 06L is the left side runway.

Some larger airports have multiple parallel runways in the same direction. In this case, they will be numbered consecutively. For example, if an airport has three north-south oriented parallel runways, they will be numbered 06R, 06L, and 07.

What is the landing sequence for a plane?

The landing sequence for a plane is:

1. The plane slows down and starts to descend.

2. The plane lines up with the runway.

3. The plane lowers its landing gear.

4. The plane touches down on the runway.

5. The plane braking and slows to a stop.

What is the takeoff sequence for a plane?

The takeoff sequence for a plane is:

1. The plane accelerates down the runway.

2. The plane lifts off the ground.

3. The plane climbs to its cruising altitude.

What is a crosswind landing and crosswind takeoff?

A crosswind landing is when the wind is blowing across the runway at an angle as the plane is trying to land. This can make it more difficult for the plane to land safely.

A crosswind takeoff is when the wind is blowing across the runway at an angle as the plane is trying to take off. This can make it more difficult for the plane to take off safely.

Airports with the smallest runways in the world:

Overall Smallest Runway in the World: 122 Meters(Private)

Inkom airport or Simko Field

Inkom Airport is a privately-owned airport in Idaho that is owned by Tom Simko and takes the record as having the smallest runway in the world measuring just 122 meters. The average runway size for a commercial airport is about 3000 meters, making Inkom’s runway almost 25 times smaller.

Inkom does not serve commercial airlines and only sees general aviation traffic. The airport is used mostly for skydiving and glider operations. The airport has a single grass runway that is only 20 feet wide.

Simko Field’s runway is covered with turf and is not paved. Turf runways are not unusual, but they are normally found at smaller airports with lighter traffic.

Inkom Airport is located in the scenic Rocky Mountains and has some beautiful scenery surrounding it. The airport is about an hour’s drive from Yellowstone National Park.

The approach to the runway is difficult as there are trees and hills located near the end of the runway.

It made the Wikipedia page as having the smallest runway here.

Smallest Airport Runway in Europe

Westray Airport: 291 meters

Westray Airport is a public airport located on the island of Westray in Scotland. The airport has a very short runway measuring just 291 meters making it the shortest runway for any airport in Europe.

The runway is made of concrete and is only 15 meters wide. The airport is served by Loganair which operates flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, and Kirkwall.

Smallest Commercial Airport Runway

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport – 400 meters

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is a public airport located on the island of Saba in the Caribbean. The airport has a very short runway measuring just 400 meters making it the shortest runway for any commercial airport in the world.

The runway is made of asphalt and is only 18 meters wide. The airport is served by Winair which operates flights to St. Maarten, St. Barths, and Antigua.

The airport is located in a very mountainous area and the approach to the runway is difficult. There have been several accidents at the airport due to the difficulty of the approach.

Below are two pics of Juancho’s small runway next to the ocean.

Image

and this

The video below shows the quick landing of a small private jet at Saba/Yrausquin airport:

Below is a longer video describing this commercial airport in the world;

https://youtube.com/watch?v=_2D0Gy9qJCc

The Smallest Commercial Runway in Germany

Helgoland Airport – 480 meters

Helgoland Airport is a public airport located on the island of Heligoland in Germany. The airport has a very short runway measuring just 480 meters making it one of the shortest runways for any commercial airport in Europe.

Heligoland Airport, Germany. Source Wikipedia

The runway is made of concrete and is only 30 meters wide. The airport is served by Lufthansa Regional which operates flights to Hamburg and Bremen.

Despite the short runway, the airport is able to handle large aircraft such as the Airbus A380. The approach to the runway is difficult as there are buildings located near the end of the runway.

The Smallest Commercial Runway in Asia

Lukla, Nepal – 527 meters

Lukla is another airport with the smallest runway in Asia measuring just 527 meters. It was constructed in 2001 and has an incline of 11.7 percent, making it the world’s steepest road. It is used by climbers attempting to reach Mount Everest’s base camp because it is conveniently located as a starting point for those heading there.

Minimum Runway lengths needed for short and long-haul flights:

Depending on the size of the plane and the runway elevation, runways may range from 1,200 to 3,000 meters. For a 50-passenger plane, a minimum of a 1200-meter runway is recommended and for a 70-passenger plane, a minimum of 1500 meters

FAQs on Smallest Airport Runways

Q: What is the average size of a runway?

A: The average size of a runway is about 3000 meters.

Q: What is the shortest paved runway in the world?

A: The shortest paved runway in the world is Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport located on the island of Saba in the Caribbean. The runway is just 400 meters long.

Q: What is the shortest runway in Europe?

A: The shortest runway in Europe is Westray Airport located on the island of Westray in Scotland. The runway is just 291 meters long.

Q: What’s the smallest airport in the world?

A: Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, located on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, has the distinction of being the smallest airport in the world. The airport has a very short runway measuring just 400 meters making it the shortest runway for any commercial airport in the world. In Europe, the smallest airport is Westray Airport located on the island of Westray in Scotland. The runway is just 291 meters long.

Q: What are some of the challenges with having a small runway?

A: Some challenges with having a small runway include the difficulty of the approach and the possibility of accidents.