Juancho E. Yrausquin: The World’s Smallest Airport

by Abubakar Shoaib

Some airports have received attention for their massive size, but the other side of the coin is just interesting. There are small airports, and then there are super small airports that some might argue are more akin to landing strips than airports. In this article, I am going to take a look at the smallest airport in the world.

Officially the world’s smallest ‘airport’

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is an airport on the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba. It is widely acknowledged as the smallest airport in the world, with a very short runway. The airport features one runway, which is recognized as the shortest commercial runway globally, coming in just under a quarter-mile. For perspective, the runway is only slightly longer than a typical aircraft carrier and is so short that jet aircraft cannot land due to fears they might overshoot the strip and land in the ocean. Winair is the sole airline serving the airport, operating two daily flights to nearby Saint Eustatius and Saint Martin, which can be reached by plane in less than 15 minutes.

© ETC wings

Named after former Aruban Minister Juancho Irausquin, the airport began operating in September 1963. Even though there hasn’t been a fatal accident here, many aviators consider it one of the world’s most dangerous airports.

Facilities

Juancho-E-Yrausquin-Airport

Jet aircraft cannot land at the airport because the runway is too short, but smaller STOL airplanes (such as the DHC-6, BN-2, and helicopters) are common sights. A small ramp and terminal are on the southwest flank of the runway. The ramp also has a designated helipad.

The terminal building houses Winair, immigration and security, a fire department with one fire truck, and a tower. The tower is an advisory service only and does not provide air traffic control. Aviation fuel is not available on the island of Saba so aircraft must land with enough for their return leg.

Would you visit the island of Saba and this tiny airport? Let us know in the comments below!

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