Sumburgh Airport

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Sumburgh Airport
Overview of Sumburgh Airport (2).jpg
Sumburgh Airport (2014)
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL)
Serves Shetland
Location Sumburgh, Shetland, Scotland
Elevation AMSL 21 ft / 6 m
Coordinates 59°52′53″N 01°17′38″W / 59.88139°N 1.29389°W / 59.88139; -1.29389Coordinates: 59°52′53″N 01°17′38″W / 59.88139°N 1.29389°W / 59.88139; -1.29389
Website Sumburgh Airport
EGPB is located in Shetland
Location in Shetland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
15/33 1,426 4,678 Asphalt
09/27 1,500 4,921 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
m ft
06/24 550 1,804 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 250,407
Passenger Change 15-16 Decrease7.9%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]

Sumburgh Airport (IATA: LSI, ICAO: EGPB) is the main airport serving Shetland in Scotland. It is located on the southern tip of the mainland, in the parish of Dunrossness, 17 NM (31 km; 20 mi) south of Lerwick.[1] The airport is owned by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) and served by Loganair.

On 1 April 1995, ownership of the Company transferred from the UK Civil Aviation Authority to the Secretary of State for Scotland and subsequently to the Scottish Ministers. HIAL receives subsidies from the Scottish Ministers in accordance with Section 34 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 and is sponsored by Transport Scotland which is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government and accountable to Scottish Ministers.


Sumburgh Links was surveyed and the grass strips laid out by Capt. E. E. Fresson in 1936: the Airport was opened on 3 June of that year with the inaugural flight from Aberdeen (Kintore) by the De Havilland Dragon Rapide G-ACPN piloted by Fresson himself. It was also one of the first airfields to have RDF facilities due to the frequency of low cloud and fog coupled with the proximity of Sumburgh Head. The building of runways was at the instigation of Capt. Fresson who had proved to the Navy at Hatston (Orkney) that to maintain all round landing facilities over the winter months runways were essential. This was taken up by the RAF after the obvious success of the Hatston experiment.

The former RAF Sumburgh airfield had three runways, two of which, although extended, remain in use by the present airport. The longest was originally 800 yd (730 m), and the shorter running a length of 600 yd (550 m) from shore-line to shore-line. No. 404 Squadron operated Beaufighter Mark VI and X aircraft from this station on coastal raids against Axis shipping off the coast of Norway and in the North Sea. The airport is unusual in that it has a 550 m (1,804 ft) helicopter runway as opposed to usual helipad. The western end of runway 09 crosses the A970 road between Sumburgh including the airport and the northern mainland; access is controlled by a level crossing with barriers closed whenever a flight is taking off or landing.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Directflight Seasonal: Fair Isle[2]
Loganair Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Kirkwall
Seasonal: Bergen, Manchester


Royal Mail Aberdeen, Kirkwall

Other tenants[edit]

Ground transport[edit]

The road distance is 25 miles (40 km) to Lerwick. There is a regular airport bus service that takes passengers there.

Road crossing of A970 with Sumburgh airport's runway. The movable barrier closes when aircraft land or take off.


Busiest routes to and from Sumburgh (2017)[3]
Rank Airport Total
2016 / 17
1 Aberdeen 155,459 Increase 44.7%
2 Edinburgh 47,131 Increase 8.3%
3 Glasgow 33,009 Increase 23.3%
4 Kirkwall 9,885 Increase 10.4%
5 Bergen 1,374 Increase 36.2%
6 Inverness 978 Decrease 72.4%
7 Manchester 414 New Route

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • 31 July 1979: Crash of Dan-Air Flight 0034, a Hawker Siddeley 748 series 1 (registration G-BEKF) operating an oil industry support flight. The aircraft failed to become airborne and crashed into the sea. The accident was due to the elevator gust-lock having become re-engaged, preventing the aircraft from rotating into a flying attitude. The aircraft was destroyed and 17 people died.
  • 29 March 1981: Potez 840 F-BMCY operated by Club Aéronautique de Paris made a wheels-up landing at Sumburgh. Damage was minimal and the aircraft was parked on a stand for many months. The four Astazou engines and other useful parts were removed and the airframe dragged off to a quiet corner of the airfield to be abandoned. When the runway was extended it was saved and now resides in a private garden in North Roe in the north of Shetland. Only 8 Potez 840s were built.
  • 11 June 2006 UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch recommended a safety audit of City Star Airlines after a serious incident in which a Dornier 328 crew flew close to cliffs and failed to respond correctly to terrain warnings on approach to Sumburgh Airport after a flight from Aberdeen. The aircraft landed safely. The captain involved was suspended and asked to resign after an investigation.[4]
  • 23 August 2013: A Super Puma AS332 L2, operated by CHC for Total, carrying 16 passengers and 2 crew from the Borgsten Dolphin oil platform, crashed about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the airport at 18:17 BST. The cause remains under investigation. Four of those aboard were killed.[5]


  1. ^ a b "NATS - AIS - Home". Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Shetland Islands Summer Timetable 22nd February to 9th October 2016". Direct Flight. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Airport Data 2017". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Tables 12.1(XLS) and 12.2 (XLS). Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  4. ^ Flight International 20–26 March 2007
  5. ^ "Shetland helicopter crash: Four dead named". BBC News. 24 August 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2014.

External links[edit]

Media related to Sumburgh Airport at Wikimedia Commons