Scotland has shortest flight in the world- just 47 seconds

Loganair plane arrives on Sanday. Picture: Jayne Wright

Loganair plane arrives on Sanday. Picture: Jayne Wright

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SCOTLAND is the proud owner of numerous world records but one that is unlikely to be topped anytime soon is that of the shortest scheduled flight.

Taking as little as two minutes, the Loganair flight from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands takes less time than it does to land on most flights. In some instances it can take 47 seconds depending on the direction of the wind, including taxi, to complete the whole 2.7km (1.7 mile) flight.

The world’s shortest flight is operated by Loganair who operates the service using Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander planes which transport teachers and pupils to school, food, mail and banking supplies as well as patients to hospital.

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The route isn’t the only flight that takes less time than your average trip into town. To get from Sanday, one of the larger inhabited islands of Orkney with a population of just 550, to Stronsay 11.2km (7.0 miles) away, takes just six minutes. From North Ronaldsay, the northernmost of the islands of Orkney, to Sanday takes seven minutes. To go by ferry to and from the same place, would take one hour and twenty minutes - a pretty significant time difference.

On average flying internally around the North Isles takes between two and 18 minutes, with the longest journey being Kirkwall to North Ronaldsay. Britain’s most northerly tip, John O’Groats, is also reachable by a short flight, taking only 25 minutes from Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney Islands.

Passangers get on the flight at Papa Westray. Picture: Jayne Wright

Passangers get on the flight at Papa Westray. Picture: Jayne Wright

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Scotland may be the current holder of the world’s shortest flight route but it faces stiff competition from the Caribbean.

Also coming in around the two minute mark is the Maya Island Air route from the Belize islands of Caye Chapel to Caye Caulker, which cover a distance of around 3.9km (2.4 miles).

Following just behind, taking roughly five minutes to complete, is the flight from Karpathos to Kasos Island in Greece which travels 19.3km (12.0 miles).

Senior Pilot Stuart Linklater flies the plane. Picture: Jayne Wright

Senior Pilot Stuart Linklater flies the plane. Picture: Jayne Wright

Closer to home is the Aer Arann route from Connemara to Inishmaan, Ireland which takes just six minutes to complete.

On the other end of the scale, the world’s longest flight from Dubai to Auckland, New Zealand takes a whopping 17 hours and 15 minutes to travel a distance of 14,192km (8,819 miles). The non-stop flight was recently introduced and narrowly beats the previous longest flight by distance from Dallas to Sydney which covers 13,804km (8,578 miles) in 16 hours and 55 minutes.

Five of the shortest scheduled flights in Scotland


1. Papa Westray to Westray - 2 minutes (Guinness World Record for Shortest Schedule Flight in the World)

2. Sanday to Stronsay - 6 minutes

3. North Ronaldsay to Sanday - 7 minutes

4. North Ronaldsay to Eday - 9 minutes

5. North Ronaldsay to Papa Westray - 10 minutes

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