“The Longer the runway, the better the take-off!”
When it comes to aviation, runways are the lifelines that connect the skies to the ground. These meticulously designed strips of pavement not only determine an aircraft’s takeoff and landing capabilities but also play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of air travel.
In this post, we share the top 10 Longest runways at commercial airports around the globe.
1. Shigatse Peace Airport, China & Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport, Russia – 5,000 meters
Sharing the crown are Shigatse Peace Airport in China and Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport in Russia, both boasting 5,000-meter runways. Shigatse Peace Airport, located at 3,782 meters altitude, serves Shigatse in the Tibet Autonomous Region and accommodates China Eastern Airlines, Tibet Airlines, and West Air. The airport defies the odds to serve both as a military and civilian airport.
Meanwhile, Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport, situated at a modest 77-meter elevation, is a hub for Volga-Dnepr Airlines, known for its distinctive fleet of Antonov An-124 and five IL-76TD-90VD (Stage IV).
2. Embraer Unidade Gavião Peixoto Airport, Brazil – 4,967 meters
Brazil’s Embraer Unidade Gavião Peixoto Airport secures its position as the second-longest runway on our list, spanning an impressive 4,967 meters. Situated at an elevation of 603 meters, this runway serves as a platform for flight testing and assembly.
It is also the longest public-use runway in the Americas. It is wholly owned and operated by the Brazilian manufacturer, Embraer.
3. Upington Airport, South Africa – 4,900 meters
At 4,900 meters, Upington Airport has one of the longest runways at a commercial airport. This runway was meticulously designed to accommodate the substantial payload of Boeing 747 aircraft. Located at an elevation of 851 meters, Upington Airport has not only unlocked economic opportunities but also serves as a vital link in the region’s cargo transportation network.
Currently, Airlink is the only airline operating regularly scheduled passenger flights in and out of Upington Airport. Apart from it, multiple airlines also operate non-scheduled charter flights in and out of the airport as it serves as an international cargo hub.
4. Denver International Airport, United States – 4,877 meters
With a runway measuring 4,877 meters and situated at an altitude of 1,656 meters, Denver International Airport in the U.S. is the fourth-longest runway at a commercial airport. It serves Colorado and the greater Front Range Urban Corridor.
Denver Airport has flights to over 215 destinations making it one of the handful of US airports to exceed 200 destinations.
5. Hamad International Airport, Qatar – 4,850 meters
Situated in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, Hamad International Airport boasts a 4,850-meter runway, located at an elevation of just four meters above sea level.
Located east of Qatar’s capital, Doha, the airport serves as the home of Qatar Airways.
6. Madrid-Torrejón Airport, Spain – 4,818 meters
Situated fifteen miles northeast of Madrid, Madrid-Torrejón Airport serves both the Spanish Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Public Works.
It features a runway of 4,818 meters and the civil part is dedicated primarily to executive and private aviation. It also serves as the base of the European Union’s Satellite Centre.
7. Erbil International Airport, Iraq – 4,800 meters
Located at an elevation of 415 meters, Iraq’s Erbil International Airport has the seventh-longest runway at 4,800 meters. It has been playing a pivotal role in facilitating connectivity to and from the region, fostering economic growth and cultural exchange.
8. Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Zimbabwe – 4,725 meters
Zimbabwe’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport features a 4,725-meter runway. Serving as the base of Air Zimbabwe, it is the largest airport in the country.
Alongside Air Zimbabwe, multiple airlines including Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, and Qatar Airways, operate scheduled passenger flights in and out of Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
9. Kinshasa N’djili Airport, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 4,700 meters
Located at an elevation of 313 meters, N’djili Airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has one of the longest runways at 4,700 meters.
Named after the nearby Ndjili River, it is the largest of the four international airports in the Democratic Republic of Congo and handles a wide range of domestic and international flights.
10. Zhukovsky International Airport, Russia & Hwange National Park Airport, Zimbabwe – 4,600 meters
At 4,600 meters, Zhukovsky International Airport in Russia and Hwange National Park Airport in Zimbabwe have the tenth longest runways at commercial airports.
Zhukovsky International Airport is located southeast of central Moscow, in the city of Zhukovsky and serves a handful of domestic, international and charter flights.
However, scheduled services at Hwange National Park Airport are limited.
“A mile of highway will take you just one mile…but a mile of runway will take you anywhere!” Several factors determine the length of a runway, including the elevation, temperature and aircraft type, among other factors. Environmental factors play a crucial role in determining the length of a runway. Pilots…
China’s much-anticipated Chengdu Tianfu International Airport has officially commenced operations, opening a new gateway to the city’s giant pandas and greater Sichuan Province. Currently capable of handling 60 million passengers annually, Tianfu is also set to double capacity in due course. Phase One, encompassing three runways and two terminals.