Airport type Public
Operator Highlands and Islands Airports Limited
Na h-Eileanan Siar
Elevation AMSL 5 ft / 2 m
Coordinates 57°01′31″N 07°26′59″WCoordinates: 57°01′31″N
Direction Length Surface
07/25 799 2,621 Sand
11/29 680 2,231 Sand
15/33 846 2,776 Sand
Sources UK AIP at NATS
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority
Barra Airport is a short-runway airport (or STOLport) situated in the wide shallow bay of Traigh Mhòr at the north tip of the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The airport is unique, being the only one in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway. The airport is operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, which owns most of the regional airports in mainland Scotland and the outlying islands.
The beach is set out with three runways in a triangle, marked by permanent wooden poles at their ends, in directions 07/25, 11/29, 15/33. This almost always allows the Twin Otters that serve the airport to land into the wind. At high tide these runways are under the sea: flight times vary with the tide. Emergency flights occasionally operate at night from the airport, with vehicle lights used to illuminate the runway and reflective strips laid on to the beach.
Barra Aerodrome has a CAA Ordinary Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee. The aerodrome is not licensed for night use. It was inaugrated in 1936.
The Barra Airport in Scotland is unique, being the only one in the world where scheduled flights use Barra beach as Airport and water as its runway. Aircrafts take off and land at low tide on the same beach where cockle-pickers gather shellfish.
There are regular passenger flights from Glasgow to the island - one of the southern-most of the Outer Hebrides and onwards to the smaller island of Benbecula to the north.
The airport is an important link for the island with a flying time of around one hour to Glasgow, compared to a five-hour ferry crossing to the west coast port of Oban, and a further three hours by road or rail to Scotland's central belt.