Starting April 15 There Will Be a New Shortest International Flight in the World

I stand corrected — despite the widespread claim that St. Gallen – Altenrhein was the shortest international flight, it appears there’s an Anguilla – St. Maarten flight which is only 12 miles.

The title for shortest regularly scheduled flight ever belongs to Logainair’s Westray – Papa Westray service. It’s scheduled at 2 minutes, but usually takes just 1 minute. It’s a subsidized route of less than 2 miles over water that began in 1967.

Back in November a new shortest international flight was launched between St. Gallen-Altenrhein, Switzerland and Friedrichshafen, Germany.

The flight is only 13 miles and is scheduled at 20 minutes gate-to-gate.

However the flight will cease April 14.

Much of the reporting on world’s shortest flights focuses on Vienna – Bratislava, the two closest European capitals. FlyNiki offered the service but doesn’t appear to any longer. I haven’t checked all low cost carriers, many of which serve Bratislava, but only rail service appears to be published in GDSs.

However the elimination of St. Gallen-Friedrichshafen leaves the new world’s shortest international flight as Kinshasa – Brazzaville.

Likely the reason this flight gets missed is because it’s between Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo, two separate countries.

Kinshasa is the former Léopoldville, capital of what used to sometimes be referred to as The Conga as opposed to Congo-Brazzaville or just Congo. Democratic Republic of Congo used to be known as Zaire and was once Belgian Congo, Republic of Congo was once administered by the French.

Both being ‘Congo’ leads to the flight being missed. But this 35 minute, 16 mile flight will become the shortest international air service in the world beginning April 15.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Valley (AXA) – Sint Maarten (SXM) on Anguilla Air Service is 12 miles and scheduled for 10 minutes.

  2. @Gary – the names of the countries are “Democratic Republic of the Congo” and “Republic of the Congo.” Usually, people throw “the” in front of both. You can also go with “the DRC” for the former.

    If you take the boat across the river, it is less than a 10 min ride.

  3. The boat across the river is a ten-minute ride, but the customs, immigration and mandatory bribes often extends the length of the trip to several hours. I know one woman whose crossing from Brazzaville to Kinshasa took eight hours.

    When I was in Brazzaville in December, there was no direct flight between BZV and FIH. Ethiopian was flying it, but didn’t have fifth freedom rights.

    Air Cote D’Ivoire (HF) doesn’t seem to fly this route anymore and ASKY (KP) seems to have just restarted it.

  4. @Scott – I have never seen customs take that long. It is usually 15-30 mins.

    A South African pilot told me that they sometimes hop between the two, but he couldn’t quantify how often or why, because he didn’t usually fly the route.

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