Dallas – We love commercial aircraft, but they would be nothing to AVgeeks and planespotters without the airports they serve worldwide.
These are the 10 oldest airports around the world still in operation, the majority of which are located in Europe and the US.
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Delta Air Lines (DL) Concourse C at MSP Airport. Photo: By m01229 from USA, CC BY 2.0
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, US
Originally known as Speedway Field, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), also less commonly known as Wold-Chamberlain Field, is a Minnesotan airport that serves the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area.
On a 160-acre plot, the airport’s initial hangar was constructed to accommodate an airmail service. After changing its name to Wold-Chamberlain Field in 1923, the airport began accepting passengers in 1929. In 1948, it was renamed Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. It underwent a comprehensive transformation into a contemporary airport as part of the MSP 2010 Long-Term Comprehensive Plan.
As of 2019, the airport provided nonstop service to 114 domestic destinations and 20 foreign destinations. The airport’s two terminals, four runways, and more than 430,000 aircraft can accommodate over 33 million passengers annually.
Aerial view of Troy, New York, with Hudson and Mohawk rivers and Albany International Airport. Photo: By Dicklyon – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Albany International Airport, US
The oldest municipal airport in the US, Albany International Airport (ALB), is situated 11 kilometers northwest of Albany, New York. It was founded in 1928.
The airport’s first airmail operations started in June 1928, and passenger services started the following October. 180 passengers passed through the airport in 1929, and it now serves more than 2.5 million travelers annually.
As part of a significant reconstruction program in the 1940s, the airport’s size was increased to 800 acres. The airport obtained a new ATC tower, parking garage, and cargo facility thanks to a 2013 capital rehabilitation project.
Sydney Airport (Kingsford Smith). Photo: Andrew Harvey, CC BY 2.0
Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport, Australia
Sydney Airport (SYD), also known as Kingsford-Smith Airport, was officially opened in 1920 as Mascot Aerodrome. The airport is located around 8 kilometers south of Sydney’s financial center.
By the middle of the 1920s, the Australian Government had acquired the airfield and was operating frequent air services between Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. During World War II, the airport’s facilities for both civilians and soldiers were improved. Sydney Airport Corporation Limited now runs the airport (SACL).
Three passenger terminals, seven cargo terminals, three runways, quick exit taxiways, and an air traffic control (ATC) tower make up Sydney Airport’s infrastructure. The airport served approximately 37 million travelers a year prior to the pandemic.
Aerial view of Paris Le Bourget Airport. Photo: By Citizen59 – Own work, CC BY 3.0
Paris Le Bourget Airport, France
The Paris-Le Bourget Airport (LBG), sometimes referred to be the oldest airport in France, opened for business in 1919. About 7 km north of Paris, in the community of Le Bourget, is where you’ll find the airport.
Until the Orly Airport was built in Paris in 1932, LBG remained the city’s only airport. Since 1977, Paris-Le Bourget has been exclusively used for business aviation after undergoing a significant expansion in 1937 to accommodate the World Fair in Paris.
All sorts of aircraft can park there because it has parking spots and three runways. Prior to the pandemic, it was one of the top airports in the world for business aviation. LBG is the location of more than 100 maintenance companies that provide products and services to the sector.
Schiphol Airport at dawn. Photo: Adenosine Triphosphate, Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Netherlands
The Netherlands’ Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) is situated in the town of Haarlemmermeer, 9.1 kilometers southwest of Amsterdam. In 1916, the airport was built as a military airfield.
The first civilian aircraft were handled at the airport in 1920, and World War II severely devastated it. It underwent a significant terminal extension in 1975 after undergoing partial repairs in 1945. The AMS is now among the top five airports in Europe thanks to a number of additional extensions that were completed in the 1990s and 2000s.
The airport, which is the fourth busiest in Europe by passenger volume, is now the primary international airport for the Netherlands. Prior to the 2020 pandemic, Schiphol served more than 50 million travelers annually and provided service to more than 300 locations.
Ciampino–GB Pastine International Airport in 2018. Photo: CAPTAIN RAJU, CC BY-SA 4.0
Rome Ciampino Airport, Italy
Rome’s Ciampino Airport (CIA) is 12 kilometers from the city’s center. Prior to Leonardo da Vinci airport’s completion in 1961, CIA, one of the world’s oldest airports, served as Rome’s sole airport.
Currently, CIA acts as a key hub for budget airlines. It has two terminals: the general aviation terminal serves air taxi and business aircraft, while the national and international terminal serves low-cost and charter carriers.
Around 20 international destinations are served by the airport’s aircraft, and 5.5 million people travel through it annually. As of 2014, the Italian Ministry of Transport was being forced to look for a new airport for Rome due to the airport’s rapid traffic increase.
Aerial image of the Bremen airport. Photo: Carsten Steger – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Bremen Airport, Germany
In Northern Germany, Bremen Airport (BRE), commonly known as City Airport Bremen, is situated 3.5 kilometers from the city. It is one of the world’s oldest airports and was founded in 1913. In 2013, 2.6 million people used the airport.
Germany’s military oversaw the management of the Bremen Airport during World War I, and it was restored to commercial traffic in 1920. In the 1930s, a new terminal and runway facilities were completed, making the airport one of the most advanced at the time.
The airport’s existing infrastructure consists of two runways, and four terminals (numbered 1, 2, 3, and E), as well as facilities for ground transit and cargo.
Because it can be reached from the city center in just 11 minutes, it is also the European airport with the fastest departure times.
Baneasa Airport. Photo: Danielson8181, Public Domain
Bucharest Baneasa ‘Aurel Vlaicu’ International Airport, Romania
The third-oldest, Bucharest “Aurel Vlaicu” Airport (BBU), often called Baneasa Airport, is located 8.5 kilometers from the city of Bucharest in the Baneasa area. Although the BBU saw its first flights in 1909, it wasn’t until the founding of a flight school there in 1912 that the location was recognized as an airport.
Prior to Henri Coanda International Airport’s construction in 1968, Baneasa served as Romania’s only international airport. The French-Romanian Company for Air Navigation (CFRNA), one of the first aviation businesses in the world, moved into the airport in 1920.
The airport’s terminal building, which was inaugurated in 1952, continues to serve passengers while maintaining its designation as a city landmark.
Hamburg Airport main hall of Terminal 2. Photo: Medvedev – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Hamburg airport, Germany
Hamburg Airport (HAM), the second-oldest commercial airport in the world, lies 8.5 kilometers from Hamburg’s city center. The airport is now the oldest in Germany and was founded in 1911.
Between 2001 and 2009, the Hamburg Airport underwent extensive renovations that resulted in a significant expansion. The €356m makeover made it one of Europe’s most modern airports by adding two new terminals, extensive access roads, parking spaces, and a new metro rail connection.
Before COVID crippled the aviation industry, HAM connected to over 60 destinations served by 115 domestic and international airlines, conveying about 13 million passengers annually. An Airbus A380 can be accommodated by the airport’s two runways and parking areas for aircraft.
As of 2919, around 15,000 people were employed by the 250 businesses located at the airport.
“Headed” Model D at College Park Aviation Museum. Photo: By FlugKerl2 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
College Park Airport, US
The world’s oldest airport is College Park Airport (CGS), located in College Park, Maryland, in the United States. Wilbur Wright first landed at the field in 1909 to train two military officers for the US Army.
One of the gateway airports between Washington, DC, and Prince George’s County, the airport is located in College Park, Maryland, in the United States.
The Maryland-National Capitol Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) purchased the airport, sometimes known as the “cradle of aviation,” in 1973. In 1977, it was entered on the National Register of Historic Places.
The airport has a single 2,600-foot-long, 60-foot-wide runway. More than 100 aircraft, including tenant and temporary aircraft, can be parked at CGS. The airport’s main amenities include a pilot lounge, weather briefings, and fueling. The Prince George County Police’s Special Operations Division is now located in the former hangar on the field.
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