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

What are the oldest airports in the world?

An airport is a place in where airplanes start and end their flights. It offers takeoff and landing runways in addition to many extensive facilities and services. Nowadays international airports are considered the main gate to almost all countries. We have no doubts that the history of airport is very exciting. When was it founded? What famous people were there before us?

Let’s find out more information with our list of top 9:

1. College Park Airport, United States (1909)

2. Ljungbyhed Airport, Sweden (1910)

3. Hamburg Airport, Germany (1911)

4. Shoreham Airport, UK (1911)

5. Bucharest Airport Aurel Vlaicu, Romania (1912)

6. Bremen Airport, Germany (1913)

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

8. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands (1916)

9. Rome Ciampino Airport (1916)

1. College Park Airport, United States (1909)

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

The prize for the oldest airport in the world, still in operation, goes to College Park Airport, Maryland, US. It was established in 1909 and refers to itself as the ‘Cradle of Aviation.’

The airport has its origins tied up with the Wright Brothers. Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the first powered airplane on December 17th, 1903, near Kitty Hawk in North Carolina – for just 12 seconds. By 1905 they had improved this and flew for 39 minutes. Further flying was then on hold until the brothers secured contracts.

The airport occupies 28.32 hectares, with a runway of 795 × 18 m and its surface is asphalt. The runway was named after Corporal Frank S. Scott, who was the first person enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces to die in a military plane, the plane crash occurred at this airport.

College Park was opened as part of the Wright Brothers expansion. It was initially a base for Wilbur Wright to train military officers to fly the US government’s first aircraft, a Wright Type A biplane. The airport went on to house the United State’s first military aviation school, which opened in 1911.

Today, it is still in use as a gateway airport for private aviation. It has an onsite museum displaying many of the aircraft from its history, including a replica Wright Flyer, a replica Bleriot XI, and several Curtiss and early Boeing aircraft.

2. Ljungbyhed Airport, Sweden (1910)

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

Ljungbyhed Airport is located in Southern Sweden and was founded in 1910. Today, the airport is used primarily as a hub for private jets, and it sees more than 90,000 flight takeoffs and landings over the year, making it one of the busiest airports in Sweden.

The site of the Ljungbyhed Airport has long been associated with the Swedish military and has been used for military purposes dating as far back as the mid-1600s. The airfield has a unique infrastructure built for and by aviation stakeholders. The airport with its surrounding airspace become a strategic development center.

Today, Ljungbyhed is also one of the busiest airports in Sweden in terms of takeoffs and landings. The environmental concession includes flight operations over 90 000 takeoffs and landings per annum. The unique infrastructure and airspace availability for flight training makes Ljungbyhed the perfect place for all aviation related training and development.

Today, Ljungbyhed airport already houses both flight training as well as maintenance training. More aviation related activities will be introduced. The airport and its facilities is owned by PEAB AB, one of the Nordic region’s leading construction and civil engineering companies.

3. Hamburg Airport, Germany (1911)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Photo: oxfordsaudia.

It was opened in 1911 but over the last few years has been completing a major modernization that includes a new terminal, new access routes and a connection to Hamburg’s rapid transit system. It is located about 8.5 km northwest of Hamburg city center.

The world’s second oldest commercial airport, Hamburg Airport is located 8.5km away from the city centre of Hamburg, Germany. Established in 1911, the airport is currently the oldest in Germany.

Hamburg Airport was largely expanded under a major renovation programme between 2001 and 2009. The €356m project added two new terminals, wide access roads, parking spaces, and new metro rail connection transforming it into one of Europe’s most modern airports.

It is one of the most important airports in Germany. It operates domestic and international flights to all major destinations in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. During World War I, Hamburg Airport was requisitioned for exclusive military use. Germany’s defeat led to the destruction of its hangars, but the airport’s recovery began in 1919.

In 1923, 5,100 passengers departed and arrived at this airport; just one year later, the number increased to 17,350. Due to a good camouflage it was possible to prevent the airport from being hit by allied bombs during the Second World War, a conflict during which it functioned as an air base for the National Socialist army. After the war, it served as an airstrip for the Royal British Air Force, and was renamed “Hamburg Airport”.

The airport now witnesses approximately 13 million passengers each year and 115 domestic and international airlines carrying to over 60 destinations. The two runways and aircraft parking facilities at the airport are capable of handling an Airbus A380. The airport is home for 250 businesses employing about 15,000 personnel.

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

Brighton City Airport, is also known as Shoreham airport, located in West Sussex, England. Founded in 1910, it is the second oldest airport in the United Kingdom and one of the oldest commercial airports in the world.

It is used by privately owned light aircraft, flight schools, light aircraft and helicopter maintenance. Different operators provide aeronautical training, tourism and leisure flights. At this airport you can experience flying in one of the two Harvard T-6, World War II training aircraft, based here. A real “vintage” jewel.

In May 2014, Brighton City Airport Ltd (BCAL) took over ownership of the airport and its operations, which was then named Shoreham Airport, taking over from Albemarle. Once the acquisition was completed, the airport was officially named the City of Brighton (Shoreham) Airport.

5. Bucharest Airport Aurel Vlaicu, Romania (1912)

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Photo: seenews.

Bucharest ‘Aurel Vlaicu’ Airport (BBU), also known as Baneasa Airport, is situated in Baneasa district, 8.5km from the city of Bucharest, Romania. While the first flights at the BBU began in 1909, the establishment of a flight school at the site officially made it an airport in 1912.

The airport was founded in 1912 when a flight school was opened there. It was named to honor Aurel Vlaicu, a Romanian aviation pioneer who built the country’s first powered aircraft. In 1920, CFRNA (The French – Romanian Company for Air Navigation), later to become national airline TAROM, started service at the airport. The main terminal building was added in 1952, designed as a central dome with three wings representing an aircraft propeller.

Aurel Vlaicu is not the main airport today in Bucharest, but a smaller one used as a business airport (although it may soon take commercial flights again). It did, though, serve as the main airport until Otopeni Airport opened in 1965.

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

Bremen Airport (BRE), also known as City Airport Bremen, is located 3.5km away from the city of Bremen in Northern Germany. Established in 1913, it is one of the oldest airports in the world. The airport handled 2.6 million passengers in 2013.

The Bremen Airport was administered by the military of Germany during World War I, and was reopened for commercial traffic in 1920. A new terminal and runway facilities built in 1930s made the airport one of the most modern of its time. The airport’s current infrastructure constitutes four terminals (1, 2, 3 and E), two runways as well as cargo and ground transportation facilities.

The airport serves as a hub for Germania and Ryanair, and offers non-stop flights to 50 destinations covering 20 nations in Europe and North Africa. It is also the fastest departure airport in Europe as it is accessible from the city centre within just 11 minutes.

Bremen Airport opened in 1913. Like Hamburg, it was planned to handle airships but soon switched focus to aircraft. Civilian flights took place between periods of military use during both world wars. After the Second World War, it was controlled by the US Air Force until 1949. Lufthansa began operating from the airport in 1950 and established its main flight training school there.

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

Top 9 World's Oldest Airports
Photo: airpaz.

Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand isn’t the first airport established in Thailand; that honor goes to Sa Patha, which has since been turned into a horse racetrack. Don Mueang officially opened on March 27, 1914, although it had been in use as a military airfield earlier. Tiny as it is, with only domestic flights these days, it is considered the oldest operating airport in Asia.

The airport is located 24km north of Bangkok. Commercial flights began operating from the airport in 1924. Don Mueang was closed commercially in September 2006, as the new Suvarnabhumi Airport opened in Bangkok, but it continued to be used for charter flights and also as an aircraft maintenance centre.

The airport was reopened in March 2007 to ease passenger traffic and allow repairs to be made to the cracked runways at Suvarnabhumi Airport and also to carry on the second-stage expansion of Suvarnabhumi Airport. After the renovation of the taxiway, Don Mueang is now used for serving 140 domestic flights carrying 20,000 passengers each day.

Before the closure, Don Mueang was the 18th-busiest airport in the world and second busiest in Asia by passenger volume. At its peak, in 2005, Don Mueang accommodated 80 airlines, operating 160,000 flights serving the whole continent and handling 38,000,000 passengers and 700,000t of cargo.

The reopened airport is now being used by Thai Airways for non-connecting domestic flights and two low-cost carriers Nok Airways and One-Two-Go Airlines. International carriers have refused to move to Don Mueang and continue to operate at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Don Mueang is jointly owned by the Thai Government and Don Mueang Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF). It houses the Don Muang RTAF Base and also the RTAF 1st Air Division.

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.

During WWI, in 1916, staff from the Dutch Ministry of War acquired a piece of land in the Haarlemmermeer area, located about 30 km southeast of Amsterdam to use as a military airfield. The land was purchased from a farmer for the sum of 55,290 guilders, something akin to half a million euro in today’s money. What began with 12 hectares had within a year expanded to become one of the largest airports in Europe.

When the war ended in 1918, the airfield remained a military base for another five years. However, planes were now used to carry goods, mail, and people. KLM was founded in 1919 and operated its first scheduled service from Amsterdam to London and back again a year later. In 1923, Schiphol transitioned under the auspices of the City of Amsterdam.

AMS hosted its first civilian aircraft in 1920; nonetheless, it was founded in 1916 as a military airport; which makes it one of the oldest airports still in operation in the world. Not only is this airport still in operation, but it also is the main airport for the Netherlands and one of the busiest airports in Europe by passenger movement.

Known officially as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Dutch capital’s main airport is located nine miles south-west of Amsterdam and is the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger traffic.

Built on what was once a large lake, Schiphol Airport is one of the world’s lowest airports, lying three metres below sea level. Initially constructed in 1916 as a military airbase, the airport opened to civilian aircraft in 1920. It has since grown to become one of the world’s largest airports with one terminal building, split into three departure halls, and six runways, one of which handles the majority of the air traffic.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the base for a number of intercontinental airlines 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.

Established in 1916, Ciampino Airport is one of the oldest international airports still in operation. This airport was Rome's main airport until 1961 when Leonardo da Vinci Airport was opened.

The Rome Ciampino Airport, officially known as Ciampino–G. B. Pastine International Airport is the second most important international airport serving Rome, after Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport. A civil cum military airport, it is at an elevation of 130 meters above sea level and is operated by Aeroporti di Roma SpA. Having a single Bitumen runway measuring 2,208 meters in length, the airport is around 12 km from the city center. Serving as a base for Ryanair and general aviation traffic, Rome Ciampino Airport has a single passenger terminal building that includes both the departures as well as arrivals facilities. There are 16 departure gates, four baggage belts but no jet-bridges. In the year 2013, the airport handled 5,018,289 passengers and recorded 47,376 aircraft movements. The airport generally handles charter and executive flights.

The airport underwent extensive renovation in 2007 and the terminal facilities were extended. Now it serves as the main airport for low cost carriers. And because of the fast growth in low cost aviation, the airport is now one of the busiest in Italy in term of passenger capacity.

CIA currently serves as a major hub for low-cost airlines. It has two terminals, of which the national and international terminal caters to low cost and charter carriers, while the general aviation terminal services air taxi and business aircraft.

The airport offers international flights to about 20 destinations and witnesses about 5.5 million passengers each year. Rapid traffic growth at the airport is now forcing the Italian Ministry of Transport to seek a new airport for Rome.
Top 10 Most Attractive Stewardess in The World Top 10 Most Attractive Stewardess in The World

What is the most attractive airline stewardess in the world? Flight attendant is an important job, which requires physical capability to deal with pressure and ...

Top 10 Oldest Military Aircrafts In Service Top 10 Oldest Military Aircrafts In Service

Check out a list of 10 oldest military aircrafts that have been in service for over half a century.

Top 8 World’s Oldest Airplanes Still In Operation Top 8 World’s Oldest Airplanes Still In Operation

These planes, some over 100 years old, fly as testaments to their artistry and engineering. Check out top 8 oldest airplanes still flying in the ...