Sumburgh Airport

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Sumburgh Airport
Overview of Sumburgh Airport (2).jpg
Sumburgh Airport (2014)
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorHighlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL)
LocationSumburgh, Shetland, Scotland
Elevation AMSL21 ft / 6 m
Coordinates59°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
WebsiteSumburgh 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 (2018)
Passenger Change 17-18Decrease4.1%
Aircraft Movements16,628
Movements change 17-18Decrease25.6%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

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 Captain 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 and the proximity of Sumburgh Head. The runways were built 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 ran for 600 yd (550 m) from shoreline to shoreline. 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 09/27 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[3]
Loganair Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Kirkwall
Seasonal: Bergen


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.[citation needed]

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 (2018)[4]
Rank Airport Total
Change from 2017
1 Aberdeen 140,667 Decrease 9.5%
2 Edinburgh 47,554 Increase 0.8%
3 Glasgow 29,237 Decrease 11.4%
4 Kirkwall 9,611 Decrease 2.7%
5 Bergen 1,367 Decrease 0.5%
6 Manchester 802 Increase 93.7%
8 Inverness 63 Decrease 93.5%
7 Fair Isle 72 Decrease 25%
9 Prestwick 43 New route
10 Tingwall 4 Increase 100%

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.[5]
  • 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 UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch identified the lack of effective monitoring of flight instruments as a cause of the crash[6]. Four of those aboard were killed.[7]


  1. ^ a b "NATS - AIS - Home". Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  2. ^ "UK airport data: Tables 3, 9 and 13.pdf". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Shetland Islands Summer Timetable 22nd February to 9th October 2016". Direct Flight. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Airport Data 2017". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Tables 12.1(XLS) and 12.2 (XLS). Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  5. ^ Flight International 20–26 March 2007
  6. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report AAR 1/2016 - G-WNSB, 23 August 2013". Air Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  7. ^ "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