Aviation is real newcomer in human history. Sure, some people might have jump off a cliff or two with shoddy wings and defenestrations happened from time to time. But we really didn’t start flying until the 20th century (take that, balloons). Hence, what airports we have are not that old. But we surely have some really old airports around!
- Bucharest Aurel Vlaicu International Airport
Aviation pioneers have been trying to dodge gravity in the Băneasa area since 1909, starting with monoplane-moustache sporting Frenchman Louis Blériot. A flying school was opened at the sport in 1912, making Bucharest Aurel Vlaicu Airport – often called just Băneasa Airport or Bukarest city airport – the oldest continuously operational airport in Eastern Europe.
It was later named after Aurel Vlaicu, a Romanian engineer and aviation trailblazer. Fittingly enough, he died trying to fly over the Carpathians in 1913. The airport continued to serve in a civilian fashion, gaining an awesome terminal building in 1952. Up until 2012, it was the second busiest airport in Romania. That year, it was converted into a business airport.
- Shoreham Airport
Shoreham Airport witnessed its first flight in 1910. The place was officially opened in June 20, 1911. In 1913, an air school was opened there. You may know that a war of some importance started the year after that. Somewhat surprisingly, even the rickety deathtraps that were World War I airplanes lifted off from the airport to go fight on the continent. In World War II, it was attacked, with a Bf-109 being shot down on the grounds, and a B-17 crashlanding there while on return from Germany.
Shoreham sports a 1930s Art Deco terminal building designed by R Stavers Hessell Tiltman. It’s used for light private aviation… and Wild Life live music festival. Brighton City Airport Ltd took ownership of the aerodrome in 2014 and renamed it Brighton City (Shoreham) Airport. What a bunch of buzzkills!
- Hamburg Airport
If you ever travelled in Europe, you likely crossed Hamburg Airport at least once. Established in 1911, it claims to be the oldest continuously airport in the world… but so do others. It was first used for airships and served in military capacity during World War I. It took part in the Berlin Airlift, the year-long effort to relieve the Soviet blockade of West Berlin. Back then, a flight delay would have meant people going hungry.
Today, it’s operating as the fifth-busiest airport in Germany. It serves 130 locations, mostly European leisure ones. It also has three long range route – including one to Tehran, the capital of Iran! The airport is also capable of handling such plus-sized airliners like Airbus A380.
- Ljungbyhed Airport
Ljungbyhed Airport is one of the more obscure oldie airports. Located in south Sweden, it’s built on the grounds that had military applications supposedly stretching back to 17th century. Granted, back then in was used to muster musketeers to battle the Catholic threat in central Europe, no doubt. Air operations started in 1910 and pilots were trained there between 1915 and 1920.
From 1925 to 1998, it served as a military airfield where steely-eyed Swedish pilots prepared to fight sun-blotting clouds of Soviet aircraft. Afterwards, it was transferred to civilian use. People still use the place for pilot training!
- College Park Airport
College Park Airport was established in August 1909 by the United States Army Signal Corps, giving it the most solid claim on title of the oldest continuously operating airport. Its purpose was to serve as the training grounds where Wilbur Wright was to teach two Army officers to fly. Wright Model A, the first serially produced airplane was uncrated there.
Back in 1910s, the construction price for a Wright Model A was $25,000, which is about $700,000 in today’s money. It’s also what it costs to repair an F-35 after a fly lands on it.
The place witnessed many historic first, like the first military pilot solo flight, first woman flown in a heavier than air vehicle, and a the first woman to pilot a military aircraft – all by 1912. The place is still used by civilian pilots, but under much stricter conditions of the post 9/11 world.
However, not matter what airport you fly from, you might still experience flight delays, cancellations and overbook. Since air passenger rights have advanced a bit since 1910, you can claim compensation for these unpleasantries! So if you experience such flight disruptions, submit your claim via Skycop!