(CNN) – The coronavirus pandemic has been the most disastrous financial force in the centennial history of commercial air transportation.
The crisis has also thrown some unusual aviation benchmarks, as airlines use unprecedented measures for unprecedented times.
And now in the United States, the requirement to keep essential air routes intact in order to qualify for the government bailout means that airlines are introducing temporary short-haul routes. Thus, for a short time only, the most recent shortest domestic flight in North America went into service.
Want to fly over Colorado today on the 29-mile route between the mountain communities of Eagle-Vail and Aspen? A single trip will cost you $ 251 on American Airlines, but we hope you have a very good reason to book.
American Airlines has confirmed to CNN Travel that the flight from Eagle County Airport (EGE) to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE) is scheduled until June 1, 2020 and is part of a Dallas flight / Fort Worth – Eagle – Aspen – Wider Montrose – Round trip Dallas / Fort Worth. The Eagle-Vail to Aspen journey takes only 35 minutes.
Shortest scheduled commercial flight to North America
The American island of Nantucket.
Barnstaple Municipal Airport to Nantucket Memorial Airport, Massachusetts
There are a few regular North American commercial flights around the 30-mile mark – the 32.16-mile trip between Toronto Billy Bishop Airport and Niagara District Airport, the 31.09-mile trip between Petersburg Municipal Airport in Alaska and Wrangell Airport – but the shortest of all is in Massachusetts.
It is only 30.49 miles between Barnstaple Municipal Airport on Cape Cod and the Nantucket Memorial Airport, which itself enjoys only five kilometers outside of downtown Nantucket.
The route is regularly served by Cape Air, which is based from Barnstaple Airport.
Shortest international commercial flight
Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles) to Anguilla (British Overseas Territory)
Other very short international routes from Sint Maarten include the 15 minute and 30 km journey to the French overseas collectivity of Saint Barth.
Shortest scheduled commercial flight
Westray at Papa Westray (Scotland)
The flight, operated by an eight-seat Britten-Norman Islander aircraft, takes just over a minute, but occasionally has been as short as 53 seconds, depending on the tailwind.
“This route is primarily used by residents of the Orkney Islands for their daily activities,” said Andy Thornton, director of flight operations for Loganair. “It is used by teachers, the local police, the banker and the children who go to school. But it is also a very interesting route for tourists and aviation enthusiasts.”
(Perhaps) the shortest commercial flight
Kegata in Apowo (Papua, Indonesia)
Distance 1.3 miles (two kilometers).
Much better if you can jump across this large ravine on the Matt Dearden Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter, a robust single-engine aircraft that can accommodate up to 10 passengers.
Dearden, a British pilot operating local air services in remote areas of Papua, provided several chargeable services on this route. Although it is not a regular connection, its trips have carried paying passengers, making it perhaps the shortest commercial flight in the world.
The rough and damp grass and the picturesque tracks, spectacularly perched on the mountain peaks, surely make an unforgettable experience.
“The two air strips in question are short, around 350 meters for Kegata and 400 meters for Apowo, a slippery wet grass tilted towards the ground,” explains Dearden. “Like many airstrips in Papua, there is no go-around once you have committed to landing!”
Shortest intercontinental commercial flight
Since the company’s launch in 1957, Royal Air Maroc has grown into a fleet of 54 aircraft.
KARIM SAHIB / AFP / Getty Images / File
Tangier (Morocco) to Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)
Only nine miles separate Europe and Africa at the narrowest point in the Strait of Gibraltar. Fast ferries constantly run this route. However, those who wish to avoid the rough waters between the two continental masses have an alternative to Royal Air Maroc.
The Moroccan standard-bearer offers a regular flight, operated by ATR-72 turboprop planes, connecting Tangier, at the northern tip of Morocco, to the British territory of Gibraltar.
Shortest flight between two national capitals
Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) to Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo)
Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville), face each other across the muddy waters of the Congo River.
Before the pandemic, two airlines flew between the two cities, ASKY, a pan-African company which operates across West Africa, and Camair-Co, from Cameroon.
What the landscape will look like as operations slowly resume and airlines face the financial fallout from the coronavirus crisis remains to be seen.