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TOP 10 very short european routes – under 80 miles/128 km long

Travel data provider OAG recently crunched the numbers from 2019 to produce its comprehensive ‘Busiest Routes 2020’ report. As well as covering the world’s busiest and most competitive routes, it also analyzes each region’s longest and shortest scheduled flights. Europe, for example, is home to 10 routes that are less than 80 miles long. To qualify, a route must be served by at least 360 scheduled flights a year.

  1. Helsinki, Finland-Tallin, Estonia – 55 miles/88 km

This short hop is served by 816 scheduled flights a year, operated by flag carrier Finnair. The corridor also represents Helsinki-Vantaa’s 15th busiest European route. From Helsinki, the journey to the Estonian capital, served by Lennart Meri Airport, is scheduled to take 35 minutes. Flights are operated for Finnair by Nordic Regional Airlines (known as Norra) using ATR 72 turboprop aircraft.

2. Gran Canaria-Tenerife North (Canary Islands, Spain) – 60 miles/96 km

This 60-mile/96-km jaunt connects two of Spain’s Canary Islands, which lie just off the northwest coast of Africa. The route is served by 3,548 scheduled flights a year, operated by regional carriers Binter Canarias and CanaryFly. Flights are scheduled to take half an hour, and, much like Europe’s shortest route, also utilize ATR turboprop aircraft.

3. Gran Canaria-Tenerife South (Canary Islands, Spain) – 63 miles/100 km

Just three miles longer than the route to Tenerife North, this route sees far less traffic than Europe’s second shortest route. Tenerife South has a far more international focus than its northern counterpart.

As such, it is served by just under a seventh of the scheduled flights from Gran Canaria to Tenerife North, coming in at 503 a year. This is partly due to the fact that Gran Canaria and Tenerife South are only connected by one airline, Binter Canarias. This places it in contrast to the two that serve the island’s northern hub.

4. Menorca-Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) – 70 miles/112 km

Whereas Europe’s second and third shortest routes connect the Canary Islands, this 70-mile hop links two of Spain’s Balearic Islands, located in the Mediterranean. The route is plied by 4,777 scheduled flights a year. These services are operated by Air Europa and Iberia Regional, using ATR and Bombardier CRJ aircraft respectively. With scheduled flight times of 35-40 minutes. Swiftair also operates cargo flights along the corridor.

6. Athens-Mykonos (Greece) – 72 miles/115 km

This 72-mile/115-km hop links the Greek capital with the island of Mykonos, which lies halfway across the Aegean Sea towards Turkey. The route is served by 2,830 scheduled flights a year, operated year-round by Olympic Air. These are supplemented in the summer by seasonal flights from Aegean Airlines, Sky Express, and Volotea. Scheduled flight times on this route vary between 35 and 45 minutes.

6. Munich – Nuremberg (Germany) – 73 miles/117 km

These two German cities, located in the federal state of Bavaria, are served by 2,497 scheduled flights a year. This seems a lot for a route that takes just over an hour on Deutsche Bahn’s high-speed ICE trains. However, flying between the two does allow for greater onward connectivity, particularly in Munich. The Bavarian capital is a long-haul hub for flag carrier Lufthansa, which operates all flights between the state’s two largest airports.

7. Ibiza – Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands) – 76 miles/122 km

Much like in the case of Menorca, Ibiza is also connected to its Balearic neighbor by flights operated by Air Europa and Iberia Regional. These take 40-45 minutes, and the corridor is served by 4,828 scheduled departures a year. This represents the largest figure out of all the routes in Europe’s top 10 shortest. Cargo flights along this corridor are, once again, operated by Swiftair

8. Isle of Man-Liverpool (United Kingdom) – 77 miles/123 km

The Isle of Man is situated in the middle of the Irish Sea, approximately halfway between Liverpool and the Northern Irish capital of Belfast. This 77-mile hop is served by 1,150 scheduled flights a year. Passengers on this corridor have a choice between low-cost-carrier easyJet and British regional airline Loganair. Flights are scheduled to take 35-40 minutes.

9. Stuttgart, Germany-Zurich, Switzerland – 78 miles/125 km

This 78-mile jaunt across the Swiss-German border represents the only other international flight to be one of Europe’s ten shortest routes. It sees 2,599 scheduled flights a year, all of which are operated by SWISS. In 2016, the corridor to Zurich was Stuttgart’s eighth-busiest international route by passenger numbers. Unlike the other top 10 route featuring Germany, this corridor is not served by such a competitive high-speed rail alternative. Journeys between Stuttgart and Zurich on semi-fast IC services operated by Deutsche Bahn and Schweizerische Bundesbahnen take just under three hours.

10. Aarhus-Copenhagen (Denmark) – 79 miles/126 km

Denmark’s two largest cities are situated 79 miles apart, and are served by 1,056 scheduled flights a year. These are operated by Nordica subsidiary Regional Jet for Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), using ATR 72 turboprop aircraft. They are scheduled to take 40 minutes.

This route is particularly interesting in that it is also served by seaplane. Nordic Seaplanes operates five daily flights each way between the two city centers, scheduled to take 45 minutes. It is unclear whether OAG’s data includes these or not, but it certainly makes for an interesting alternative along the otherwise SAS-dominated corridor.

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