International > Airports far away from city center
How far is the airport to downtown? A guide to airports that are far away from city center.
When you are looking for cheap flights, you are well advised to compare airfares to different airports that serve their destination. It happens indeed that an airport is significantly cheaper than its nearest neighbor. Low-cost airlines also use preferably secondary airports which are usually much less expensive than international airports and where, moreover, airlines can often benefit from subsidies from local authorities, particularly in Europe.
However, you must pay attention to the available ground transportation options between the airport and your final destination, especially as for the duration, the frequency and the cost of transfers to and from the airport. In this regard, you must not be fooled by the name of airports that may sometimes be located very far away from the city they are named after. A secondary airport far away from a large city is often tempted to use the name of the city in order to look more attractive to a large amount of travelers. Even if the airport does not do so officially, low-cost airlines flying to such a remote airport have no scruples about doing so.
You find below a list of some airports that are far away from city center. The list is not exhaustive. The journey durations stated in the list are for information only. They may actually increase significantly depending on traffic conditions.
Travelers should not necessarily avoid these airports. They simply should be aware of the consequences of such a remote location in terms of time, cost, and comfort when comparing airfares to different airports.
The choice is to be made on a case by case basis. A secondary airport can often be attractive despite its remote location. Otherwise, savings from a low cost flight may be fully balanced out by the higher cost of the transfer to the city center. Then, travelers should prefer the main airport especially when legacy /flag carriers offer cheap flights to this airport in order to compete with low-cost airlines. In case of a connecting flight to a further destination, the international airport is anyway the only option.
Remote airports are not always regional airports used by low-cost airlines. Sometimes they are important international airports. This often happens when a large city is served by several airports. The first airport is usually close to the city. However, since the city grows, an additional airport has to be built far away from downtown. Then, transfers to city center may be also time consuming. However, international airports have usually much more varied, more frequent and faster ground transportation options than secondary airports. A remote location is then much less embarrassing.
1. Remote secondary or regional airports
The Frankfurt-Hahn airport is located 6 mi (10 km) away from the town Kirchberg. It is about 81 mi (130 km) away from downtown Frankfurt, which results in a 1h½ journey by car or 2h by public transport. The Frankfurt-Hahn airport is used mainly by low-cost airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air. The city of Frankfurt is actually served by the Frankfurt international airport, the busiest airport of Germany. Among others, a fast S-Bahn commuter rail service connects the international airport to the central station of the city in 12 minutes.
The Weeze airport, that Ryanair calls Düsseldorf-Weeze, lies 50 mi (80 km) away from the city center of Düsseldorf. Transfers to downtown Düsseldorf take 1h¼ by car. The Weeze airport is actually closer to the German city of Duisburg and the Dutch town of Nijmegen than to Düsseldorf. The city Düsseldorf is primarily served by the Düsseldorf airport (4 mi / 7 km from the city) and the Düsseldorf Mönchengladbach Airport (19 mi / 30 km from Düsseldorf), or even the Cologne/Bonn airport (34 mi / 55 km from Düsseldorf).
The Allgäu airport Memmingen, that low-cost airlines name Munich-West, is located about 68 mi (110 km) away from the city center of Munich, which means a 1h½ journey by car or coach. The airport is used by Ryanair and Wizz Air. The main airport of Munich, Franz Josef Strauss Airport in Munich, is only 19 mi (30 km) away from the city.
The London Southend airport is located 43 mi (70 km) from Downtown London. Transfers by car take 1h¼. The London Stansted Airport is almost equally distant from Downtown London (40 mi / 65 km).
Express transit services between each of these airports and Liverpool Street station in London last approximately 50 minutes (47 min. to Stansted and 53 min. to Southend). Stansted Airport is significantly more busy than Southend and it is better served. London Southend airport is mainly used by Easyjet and Flybe. London Stansted Airport is served by several low cost airlines, including Easyjet, Flybe, Germanwings, and Ryanair, as well as by charter airlines such as Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines.
The two main airports of London are Heathrow (16 mi / 25 km) and Gatwick (28 mi / 45km). London City and Luton are two smaller airports also serving London. The London Luton Airport is located 34 mi (55 km) from downtown.
The name of the Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield may be also misleading. It is actually far away from Nottingham (50 mi / 80 km). It is close to Doncaster (6 mi / 9 km) and Sheffield (19 mi / 30 km).
In Scotland, the Glasgow Prestwick airport that is served by Ryanair lies about 34 mi (55 km) from the city center of Glasgow (50 minutes by train). The main Glasgow Airport, Glasgow international airport, is 9 mi (15 km) from the city center.
The Beauvais-Tillé Airport, called Beauvais-Paris by low cost airlines, is close to Beauvais. It lies approximately 56 mi (90 km) - a 1h¼ car or shuttle ride - away from the city center of Paris. The Beauvais-Tillé Airport is used mainly by low cost airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air.
The Châlons-Vatry Airport, that Ryanair names Paris-Vatry, is still much farther from Paris City Center (about 100 mi /160 km) so that transfers to Downtown Paris take at least 2 hours by road. The airport is situated 12 mi (20 km) southwest of Châlons-en-Champagne. The Châlons-Vatry Airport is used mainly by Ryanair and Jetairfly.
The Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport in Roissy (19 mi / 30 km) and the Orly airport (11 mi /18 km) are the main airports serving Paris.
The Girona-Costa Brava Airport, called Barcelona-Girona by Ryanair, lies close to Lloret de Mar and some other beach resorts of the Costa Brava. However, it is located about 56 mi (90 km) north of Barcelona, so that transfers to Barcelona take1 hour and often more, either by train or by car. The Girona-Costa Brava airport is mainly used by Ryanair and several airlines offering seasonal flights to the Costa Brava.
Similarly, the Reus Airport, named Barcelona-Reus by Ryanair, is located near the Costa Dorada, a bit more than 62 mi (100 km) southwest of Barcelona. Transfers to Downtown Barcelona last more than 1h¼ by car and much more by public transport. The Reus Airport is primarily served by seasonal flights.
The Barcelona-El Prat airport is the main airport of Barcelona. It is situated a dozen kilometers from the city center.
The Brussels-South Charleroi Airport is located in Gosselies, near the city of Charleroi. It is located about 37 mi (60 km) - a one hour shuttle bus ride - away from the city center of Brussels. The airport can be reached also by train to Charleroi South Station, then by bus (20 min.). The Brussels-South Charleroi Airport is primarily served by Ryanair, Wizz Air and Jetairfly.
Brussels-National Airport (9 mi / 15 km) is the main airport serving the city of Brussels.
The Warsaw Chopin airport, the main airport serving the capital of Poland, is just located a dozen kilometers away from the city center. However, the Warsaw–Modlin Mazovia Airport, used by Ryanair, lies 25 mi (40 km) from Warsaw.
The Sandefjord airport in Torp, that low-cost airlines call Torp-Oslo, is located 68 mi (110 km) from the city center of Oslo, a 1h¾ car ride or a 2 h train journey. It is served by low cost airlines: Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, and Wizz Air.
The Moss airport Rygge, that Ryanair names Rygge-Oslo, is closer to Oslo (43 mi / 70 km from the city center). However, transfers by train take one hour. The airport is used by Ryanair and Norwegian Air shuttle. The main Oslo airport is Oslo-Gardermoen airport, located 22 mi (35 km) northeast of Oslo.
The Stockholm-Skavsta airport is located 62 mi (100 km) southwest of Stockholm, which results in a journey of about 1h¼ by car, bus or train to downtown. It is primarily served by Ryanair and Wizz Air. The Stockholm-Västerås airport is situated a bit more than 62 mi (100 km) northwest of Stockholm. Transfers to city center last about 1 hour by car or 1h½ by public transport. The airport is used by Ryanair.
The main airports of the city of Stockholm are the Stockholm-Bromma Airport (5 mi / 8 km away from the city center) and the Stockholm-Arlanda international airport (27 mi / 43 km).
Sydney, Australia's most populous city, is served by only one airport that is located 8 km from the city center. The construction of a second airport 37 mi (60 km) from the city is planned. The second most populous city in Australia, Melbourne, has four airports. Three of them, the Melbourne international airport, are located within 12 mi (20 km) from the town. However, the Avalon Airport, used by Jetstar Airways for domestic flights, is located 34 mi (55 km) from the center of Melbourne.
Large American cities are often served by several airports. The three major airports of New York City - JFK, LaGuardia and Newark (the latter being located in the State of New Jersey) - lie 9 to 19 mi (15 to 30 km) from Manhattan. However, the regional airports of New York (Westchester Countyairport, Stewart International airport, and Long Island MacArthur airport) are significantly more distant (37 to 62 mi / 60 to 100 km from Manhattan). They are used only for domestic flights.
The Boston-Logan international airport is located close to Boston. However, the regional airports of Boston, such as the Manchester-Boston airport and the T. F. Green airport in Rhode Island, lie about 56 mi (90 km) away from Boston.
Chicago is served by the Chicago O'Hare international airport and the Chicago Midway international airport (an important hub of the budget airline Southwest). Both are located not far from the city. Despite its name, the Chicago Rockford international airport, used primarily by the low cost airline Allegiant Air, lies more than 87 mi (140 km) away from Chicago.
The Los Angeles metropolitan area is served by the Los Angeles international airport (LAX) - one of the busiest in the world - and several regional airports. The international airport and the Bob Hope Airport (close to Hollywood) are located 30 km from downtown. However, the other airports are more distant: the John Wayne airport, near Disneyland, and the LA/Ontario airport lie more than 37 mi (60 km) away from Los Angeles.
2. International airports far away from the city center
As stated above, international airports also lie sometimes very far away from the city center. In Japan, Tokyo has two international airports: the Tokyo Haneda international airport is located about twenty kilometers from the city center. But the main airport, Tokyo Narita international airport, lies 43 mi (70 km) away from the city center of Tokyo, which is often a journey of more than an hour by train or by car. Fast rail services connect the airport to the Nippori station in 36 minutes (Skyliner) and the Tokyo Station in 55 minutes (Narita Express).
The Ninoy Aquino international airport is the main airport of Manila. It is located 6 mi (10 km) away from the city. However, the Clark international airport that also serves the city lies far away (62 mi /100 km) from Manila, which requires a 1h¾ journey by road.
The two international Bangkok airports are located about 19 mi (30 km) from the city, the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport to the east of the city and the Bangkok Don Mueang airport to the north. In both cases, the transfer to downtown by car takes about 50 minutes. However, the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport that is more recent and more active than Don Mueang is better equipped in ground transportation services. In particular, the Airport Rail Link that connects the airport to the city center in 20 minutes. Transfers between both airports take quite a time. In February 2016, IATA warned that Suvarnabhumi Airport may be a safety risk since it is overcrowded (it handles more than 52 million passengers annually).
Kuala Lumpur is also served by two airports: the oldest, the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport, is close to the city while the most active airport, the Kuala Lumpur international airport, lies 34 mi (55 km) from the city center. Transfers to downtown with the Express Rail Link take about 30 minutes.
The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam airport, the only international airport of Mauritius, is located to the southeast of the island, only a few kilometers from the small city of Mahébourg. But the capital, Port Louis, and many tourist destinations in the country lie on the western coast of the island. The 31 mi (50 km) journey between from Port Louis and the airport takes 50 minutes by car and 1h½ by bus. A journey from the airport to Grand Bay in the north of the island takes at least 1 h by car and much more by bus.
The Paro Airport, the only airport in Bhutan, is located 6 km from the town of Paro and about 31 mi (50 km) away from the capital, Thimphu. The transfer to the capital from the airport lasts more than an hour by car.
The city of Milan is served by two international airports. The Milan Linate airport is located only 5 mi (8 km) from the city center. However, the main airport, Milan Malpensa international airport, lies about 31 mi (50 km) away from the city center of Milan. The Malpensa Express connects the airport to Milan Central station in 45 minutes approximately.
The Moscow Domodedovo international airport is situated 28 mi (45 km) southeast of the city center, a 1h car ride. The Aeroexpress train runs through in 45 minutes. The two other international airports serving the city are about 19 mi (30 km) away from the city, the Moscow Sheremetyevo airport to the north and the Vnukovo airport to southwest, a 35 to 40 min. journey by speed train in both cases.
However, the terminus of these fast links currently is not the same: Paveletsky station to Moscow Domodedovo Airport, Kievskiy station to Moscow Vnukovo airport, and the Belorussky station to Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport.
The Keflavík international airport (also known as Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport), which is close to the town of Keflavík, serves the country's capital, Reykjavik, which is located 31 mi (50 km) east of the airport. Transfers to the center of the capital occur only by road and last ¾ h. The Reykjavik airport, which is located 1.8 mi (3 km) from the capital, is used only for domestic flights, mainly by Air Iceland and Eagle Air.
© Willgoto July 2015
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