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Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Oldest Airports In The World. Photo: Knowinsiders.

What Are the Oldest AirPorts - The First AirPorts in History of the World?

An airport is a facility used for the takeoff and landing of aircraft. There are runways for takeoff and landing, among other amenities. These days, most nations' primary points of entry are their respective international airports.

We have no doubts that airport history is a fascinating one. When did it get its start? When did the previous famous people leave?

1. College Park Airport, United States (1909)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
College Park Airport is still used for light aircraft. Photo: Getty.

College Park Airport in Maryland, United States, wins the award for being the oldest airport in the world that is still in use. It calls itself the "Cradle of Aviation" and was founded in 1909.

The Wright Brothers played a role in the development of the airport. The first powered airplane was flown by Wilbur and Orville Wright for just 12 seconds on December 17, 1903, close to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. They made improvements by 1905 and could fly for 39 minutes. The brothers put a stop to flying until they obtained contracts.

The airport is located on 28.32 hectares of land and has an asphalt runway measuring 795 m by 18 m. The runway is named for Corporal Frank S. Scott, the first enlistee to perish in a military aircraft, and the plane crash that caused his death took place at this airport.

As a part of the Wright Brothers expansion, College Park was inaugurated. Initially, Wilbur Wright used it as a base to instruct military personnel on how to fly the Wright Type A biplane, the first aircraft owned by the US government. The first military aviation school in the United States opened its doors at the airport in 1911.

It is still being used as a private aviation gateway airport today. Its on-site museum features many of the historical aircraft from the base, including a Wright Flyer replica, a Bleriot XI replica, and a number of Curtiss and early Boeing aircraft.

2. Ljungbyhed Airport, Sweden (1910)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Ljungbyhed, Sweden. Photo: kimson /

Southern Sweden is home to Ljungbyhed Airport, which opened its doors in 1910. One of the busiest airports in Sweden, the airport is now primarily used as a hub for private jets and sees more than 90,000 flight takeoffs and landings annually.

Since the middle of the 1600s, the location of the Ljungbyhed Airport has been connected to the Swedish military and used for military operations. The unique infrastructure at the airport was created for and by aviation stakeholders. The airport and the area's airspace are now a hub for strategic development.

In terms of takeoffs and landings, Ljungbyhed is currently one of the busiest airports in Sweden. Over 90 000 takeoffs and landings are included in the environmental concession for flight operations annually. Ljungbyhed is the ideal location for all aviation-related training and development due to its distinctive infrastructure and accessibility to airspace for flight training.

Currently, Ljungbyhed Airport serves as a location for both flight and maintenance training. There will be an increase in aviation-related activities. One of the top civil engineering and construction firms in the Nordic region, PEAB AB, is the owner of the airport and its facilities.

3. Hamburg Airport, Germany (1911)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Photo: oxfordsaudia.

In recent years, it has finished a significant modernization that includes a new terminal, new access routes, and a connection to Hamburg's rapid transit system. It was first opened in 1911. It is about 8.5 kilometers northwest of Hamburg's downtown.

Hamburg Airport, the second-oldest commercial airport in the world, is 8.5 kilometers from Hamburg's city center. The airport is currently the oldest in Germany and was founded in 1911.

Between 2001 and 2009, the Hamburg Airport underwent extensive renovations that resulted in a significant expansion. The €356 million project made it one of Europe's most modern airports by adding two new terminals, wide access roads, parking spaces, and a new metro rail connection.

It is one of Germany's most significant airports. To all significant locations in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, it offers domestic and international flights. Hamburg Airport was commandeered for sole military use during World War I. The airport's hangars were destroyed when Germany was defeated, but restoration work started in 1919.

5,100 people traveled in and out of this airport in 1923; 17,350 people did so just one year later. During the Second World War, when it served as an air base for the National Socialist army, it was possible to keep the airport from being hit by allied bombs thanks to effective camouflage. It was renamed "Hamburg Airport" after the war and used as an airstrip by the Royal British Air Force.

There are currently over 60 destinations served by 115 domestic and international airlines, carrying about 13 million passengers annually. An Airbus A380 can be accommodated by the airport's two runways and parking areas for aircraft. Around 15,000 people are employed by the 250 businesses located at the airport.

The original facility only covered 440,000 square meters, now though, the airport expands over 5.7 square kilometers. It features two runways, both capable of handling an Airbus A380 which is the largest airplane in the world.

4. Shoreham Airport, UK (1911)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Photo: Credit: Nickos / iStock

In West Sussex, England, there is an airport called Brighton City Airport, also called Shoreham Airport. It was established in 1910, making it one of the first commercial airports in the world and the second-oldest airport in the United Kingdom.

Privately owned light aircraft, flight schools, light aircraft maintenance, and helicopter maintenance all make use of it. Flights for tourism, leisure, and aviation training are offered by various operators. You can take a flight in one of the two Harvard T-6 training planes from World War II that are based at this airport. An authentic "vintage" jewel.

The airport, which was then known as Shoreham Airport, was acquired by Brighton City Airport Ltd (BCAL) in May 2014, taking over from Albemarle. The airport was given the name City of Brighton (Shoreham) Airport following the acquisition.

5. Bucharest Airport Aurel Vlaicu, Romania (1912)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Photo: seenews.

Romania's Bucharest 'Aurel Vlaicu' Airport (BBU), also referred to as Baneasa Airport, is located in the Baneasa neighborhood, 8.5 kilometers from the city center. Although the BBU saw its first flights in 1909, it wasn't until the establishment of a flight school there in 1912 that the location was recognized as an airport.

When a flight school first opened there in 1912, the airport was officially founded. It bears the name of Aurel Vlaicu, a pioneer of Romanian aviation who created the nation's first powered aircraft. The French-Romanian Company for Air Navigation, or CFRNA, which would later change its name to TAROM, began operating at the airport in 1920. The primary terminal building, which has three wings that resemble an airplane propeller, was added in 1952.

The primary airport in Bucharest today is Aurel Vlaicu, a smaller airport that serves as a business airport (although it may soon resume accepting commercial flights). However, up until the 1965 opening of Otopeni Airport, it was the primary airport.

The terminal building, which was opened in 1952, currently serves the users of the airport and retains its status as a city landmark. The BBU was converted into a dedicated business airport in 2012 as the facilities were inadequate to handle the huge commercial traffic and there was no scope for expansion.

6. Bremen Airport, Germany (1913)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Bremen airport has an enviable location close to the city. Photo: Bin im Garten via Wikimedia

In Northern Germany, Bremen Airport (BRE), also known as City Airport Bremen, is situated 3.5 kilometers from the city. It is one of the world's oldest airports and was founded in 1913. In 2013, 2.6 million people used the airport.

Germany's military oversaw management of the Bremen Airport during World War I, and it was reopened to commercial traffic in 1920. In the 1930s, a new terminal and runway facilities were built, making the airport one of the most advanced at the time. The airport's current infrastructure consists of two runways, four terminals (numbered 1, 2, 3, and E), as well as facilities for ground transportation and cargo.

The airport serves as a hub for Ryanair and Germania and provides nonstop service to 50 locations in 20 different countries throughout Europe and North Africa. Because it can be reached from the city center in just 11 minutes, it is also the European airport with the fastest departure times.

In 1913, Bremen Airport first opened. It was intended to handle airships, much like Hamburg, but soon turned its attention to aircraft. During both world wars, civilian flights took place in between military missions. It was under US Air Force control following World War II until 1949. In 1950, Lufthansa established its primary flight training facility at the airport and started operating from there.

7. Don Mueang International Airport Bangkok, Thailand (1914)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Photo: airpaz.

Thailand's Sa Patha Airport, which has since been converted into a horse racetrack, holds the distinction of being the country's first airport, before Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok. Don Mueang was used as a military airfield prior to its official opening on March 27, 1914. It is thought to be the oldest operating airport in Asia, despite its small size and current focus on domestic travel only.

24 kilometers are to the airport's north of Bangkok. The airport started hosting commercial flights in 1924. When Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport opened in September 2006, Don Mueang was shut down as a commercial airport but it was still used for charter flights and as a facility for maintaining aircraft.

In order to reduce passenger traffic, enable repairs to the Suvarnabhumi Airport's deteriorating runways, and advance the airport's second-stage expansion, the airport was reopened in March 2007. Since the taxiway was renovated, 140 domestic flights carrying 20,000 passengers per day now land at Don Mueang.

Don Mueang was the second busiest airport in Asia and the 18th busiest airport in the world before it was closed. At its busiest, Don Mueang hosted 80 airlines in 2005, running 160,000 flights to the entire continent, carrying 38,000,000 passengers, and handling 700,000t of cargo.

Thai Airways and two low-cost airlines, Nok Airways and One-Two-Go Airlines, now operate non-connecting domestic flights out of the reopened airport. International airlines have opted to stay at Suvarnabhumi Airport rather than transfer to Don Mueang. The Thai government and the Don Mueang Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) jointly own the company. It is home to both the RTAF 1st Air Division and the Don Muang RTAF Base.

8. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands (1916)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Schiphol Airport uses a branch-like gate system to gather planes around a single, central terminal building. Photo: curbed.

The Dutch Ministry of War staff bought a plot of land in the Haarlemmermeer region, about 30 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam, in 1916 to use as a military airfield during World War I. The price paid to buy the land from a farmer was 55,290 guilders, or roughly €500,000 in today's currency. Within a year, the 12-hectare initial site had grown to one of Europe's largest airports.

The airfield served as a military base for an additional five years after the war ended in 1918. However, today, people, mail, and goods are all transported via aircraft. KLM was established in 1919, and a year after that, it ran its first regular service from Amsterdam to London and back. Schiphol moved under the control of the City of Amsterdam in 1923.

AMS was founded in 1916 as a military airport, making it one of the oldest airports still in use in the world. However, it did not host its first civilian aircraft until 1920. This airport is not only still in use, it also serves as the primary airport for the Netherlands and is among the busiest in Europe in terms of passenger volume.

The main airport of the Dutch capital, officially known as Schiphol Airport, is the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger traffic and is situated nine miles to the southwest of Amsterdam.

Schiphol Airport, which is three meters below sea level and was constructed on the site of a former large lake, is one of the lowest airports in the world. The airport was built in 1916 as a military airbase and opened to commercial travel in 1920. Since then, it has expanded to become one of the biggest airports in the world, with one terminal building that is divided into three departure halls and six runways, the main one of which is used for the majority of air traffic.

Several international airlines have their hubs at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, including the Dutch flag carrier KLM and the airlines Transavia and Martinir.

9. Rome Ciampino Airport (1916)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Rome Ciampino Airport, Italy. Photo: oxfordsaudia.

One of the first modern international airports was built at Ciampino Airport in 1916. Prior to the opening of Leonardo da Vinci Airport in 1961, this airport served as Rome's primary airport.

The Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport is the most significant international airport serving Rome, followed by the Ciampino-G. B. Pastine International Airport. It is a mixed-use civil and military airport that is 130 meters above sea level and run by Aeroporti di Roma SpA. The airport, which has a single 2,208-meter-long Bitumen runway, is about 12 kilometers from the city's center. Rome Ciampino Airport has a single passenger terminal building that houses both the departures and arrivals facilities, acting as a hub for Ryanair and general aviation traffic. Four baggage belts and 16 departure gates are present, but there are no jet bridges. The airport recorded 47,376 aircraft movements and 5,018,289 passengers in 2013. Executive and charter flights are commonly handled by the airport.

In 2007, there was a significant expansion of the terminal space and extensive renovation of the airport. It is now the primary airport for low cost airlines. Additionally, the airport is currently one of the busiest in Italy in terms of passenger capacity due to the rapid expansion of low cost aviation.

Currently, CIA acts as a key hub for budget airlines. It has two terminals: the general aviation terminal serves air taxi and business aircraft, while the national and international terminal serves low cost and charter carriers.

About 5.5 million passengers use the airport every year, and they can fly to one of about 20 international destinations. The Italian Ministry of Transportation is currently on the hunt for a replacement airport for Rome due to the exponential growth in air traffic.

10. Paris-Le Bourget Airport, France (1919)

The Paris-Le Bourget Airport (LBG), often referred to as the oldest airport in France, opened for business in 1919. About 7 km north of Paris, in the community of Le Bourget, is where you'll find the airport.

Until the Orly Airport was built in Paris in 1932, it remained the city's only airport. Since 1977, Paris-Le Bourget has been exclusively used for business aviation after undergoing a significant expansion in 1937 to accommodate the World Fair in Paris.

All types of aircraft can park there because it has parking spaces and three runways. It is one of the top airports in the world for business aviation, and it is also the location of more than 100 maintenance companies that provide products and services to the sector.

11. Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport, Australia (1920)

The Mascot Aerodrome, now known as Sydney Airport (SYD), also goes by the name Kingsford-Smith Airport. The airport is located about 8 km south of Sydney's financial district.

By the middle of the 1920s, the Australian Government had acquired the aerodrome and was operating regular air services between Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. During World War II, the airport's facilities for both civilians and soldiers were improved. Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL) is currently in charge of running the airport.

Three passenger terminals, seven cargo terminals, three runways, rapid exit taxiways, and an air traffic control (ATC) tower make up Sydney Airport's infrastructure. Currently, the airport serves over 37 million passengers a year.

12. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, US (1920)

Originally known as Speedway Field, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is a Minnesotan airport that serves the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area.

On a 160-acre site, the airport's first hangar was constructed to accommodate an airmail service. After changing its name to Wold-Chamberlain Field in 1923, the airport began accepting passengers in 1929. In 1948, it was renamed Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and as part of the MSP 2010 Long-Term Comprehensive Plan, it underwent a complete transformation into a modern airport.

The airport provides nonstop service to 114 domestic destinations and 20 international destinations. The airport's two terminals, four runways, and more than 430,000 aircraft can accommodate over 33 million passengers annually.

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