World's shortest international flight cancelled after six months

After failing to reach predicted passenger numbers, the route over Lake Constance has ground to a halt

World's shortest international flight cancelled after six months

[Austrian People’s Air Group]

Just six months after getting off the ground, the world’s shortest cross-country flight is already preparing for its final ever journey.

Linking Germany and Switzerland, the eight-minute flight over Lake Constance from St Gallen-Altenrhein in Switzerland to Friedrichshafen in southern Germany takes off for the last time on April 14th.

The route was launched by the Austrian People’s Air Group in November 2016, offering twice-daily flights each way across the 20-km distance. A one-way ticket between the two airports was priced at €40.

“The withdrawal of the flight is very regrettable to the region and the Bodensee Airport,” said airport boss Claus-Dieter Wehr.

The reason for the cancellation comes after the airline running it had “only haltingly increased” passenger numbers since its maiden flight. Last November, the airline outlined plans to fly 40,000 people on the route in its first year, though by last month only 2,300 had made the journey.

“There was indeed small, recognisable progress, but we don’t think that the targeted number of passengers could have been reached,” said airline owner Markus Kopf, adding that the eight-minute flight had entailed too many costs.

The news of the route’s cancellation was warmly received by local environmental groups, who had lodged complaints from its announcement that it was not needed to replace what was otherwise a one-hour car trip around the lake.

Environmentalists also opposed the amount of fuel consumed for the brief trip, as well as the level of noise pollution it caused.

Prior to the launch of the Lake Constance flight, the shortest international record holder was the 10-minute trip between Bratislava and Vienna. The cities are so close that travel guides warn tourists that flying Ryanair to Austria could see you landing in the Slovakian capital instead.

The world’s shortest regular commercial flight takes place between two of the UK’s Orkney Islands, with Scottish carrier Loganair running the three-kilometre route between Westray and Papa Westray.

The flight, which costs £17, began in 1967, with the fastest ever record set at just 53 seconds.

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