A Journey Through Time: The History and Charm of Sumburgh Airport (LSI)

As a hub of air travel in the Shetland Islands, Sumburgh Airport provides a unique and engaging experience for aviation enthusiasts and travellers alike. In this post, we’ll explore the history, airlines, and unique features of this quaint airport tucked away in the Scottish isles. So, fasten your seatbelts as we take off on a journey through Sumburgh Airport!

A Brief History of Sumburgh Airport

The story of Sumburgh Airport (LSI) began in 1936 when the airport was established as a refuelling stop for seaplanes flying between mainland Scotland and the Shetland Islands. As World War II erupted, the airport played a crucial role in the defence of Britain, housing various military aircraft and personnel.

Post-war, the airport returned to its civilian roots, expanding and modernising its facilities to cater to the growing demand for air travel. Today, Sumburgh Airport (LSI) serves as the main gateway to the Shetland Islands, connecting the archipelago with mainland Scotland and beyond.

Airlines Serving Sumburgh Airport

Sumburgh Airport is currently served by two major airlines, offering both scheduled and seasonal flights to various destinations:

  • Loganair: This Scottish airline operates regular flights between Sumburgh and destinations such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, and Kirkwall. During the summer months, Loganair also offers seasonal flights to destinations like Bergen and Manchester. They also provide flights to London City Airport.
  • Eastern Airways: Eastern Airways provides scheduled flights between Sumburgh and Aberdeen, as well as seasonal flights to destinations like Durham Tees Valley during the summer months.

What Makes Sumburgh Airport Unique

Sumburgh Airport isn’t your typical airport, and that’s what makes it so special. Here are some unique features that set it apart:

  1. Scenic Location: Sumburgh Airport is situated at the southern tip of the Shetland Islands, providing a picturesque setting for travellers. The approach and departure offer stunning views of the rugged coastline, making for a memorable flying experience.
  2. Archaeological Sites: The airport is surrounded by a wealth of archaeological sites, including the famous Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement. This rich historical backdrop adds a fascinating dimension to the airport experience.
  3. Compact Design: Sumburgh Airport has a single terminal, making it easy to navigate for travellers. The compact design also allows for quick and efficient boarding and disembarking processes.
  4. Birdwatching Opportunities: The airport is located within the Shetland Islands’ Important Bird Area, offering birdwatching enthusiasts a chance to spot rare and protected species such as puffins, skuas, and guillemots.

Lounges at Sumburgh Airport

While Sumburgh Airport may be small, it offers a comfortable and cosy lounge for travellers to relax in before their flights. The Rova Lounge provides complimentary Wi-Fi, charging points for electronic devices, and a selection of hot and cold beverages, snacks, and local newspapers. Access to the Rova Lounge can be purchased on arrival at the airport or pre-booked online for a discounted rate.

Terminal Information

Sumburgh Airport has a single terminal, aptly named the Sumburgh Airport Terminal. This terminal houses all airline check-in desks, security checkpoints, and boarding gates, making it convenient and easy to navigate for travellers.

Accommodation Options

There are no hotels within the airport grounds. However, several accommodation options are available within a short distance of Sumburgh Airport. Some popular choices include:

  1. Sumburgh Hotel: This charming hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the airport and the famous Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement. With stunning sea views, comfortable rooms, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, the Sumburgh Hotel is a favourite among travellers.
  2. Quendale Farm: For those looking for a more rural experience, Quendale Farm offers cosy self-catering cottages nestled in the picturesque Shetland countryside. Located just a few miles from the airport, this accommodation option provides a peaceful retreat after a day of travel.
  3. Scalloway Hotel: Situated in the historic village of Scalloway, this award-winning hotel offers comfortable rooms, a renowned restaurant, and easy access to local attractions. Just a 20-minute drive from Sumburgh Airport, the Scalloway Hotel is an excellent base for exploring the Shetland Islands.

What To See And Where To Eat In the Shetland Isles

One of the must-see attractions in the Shetland Islands is the ancient archaeological site of Jarlshof, located near the southern tip of Mainland, the largest island in the archipelago. This site showcases over 4,000 years of history, including Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish, and Viking settlements.

Another historical site worth visiting is the well-preserved Mousa Broch, an Iron Age round tower on the island of Mousa. Nature enthusiasts will find the Shetland Islands to be a haven, as it is home to the Shetland ponies, seabird colonies, and the stunning coastal scenery of Eshaness, where you can take in the breathtaking views of the cliffs and sea stacks.

When it comes to dining in the Shetland Islands, you’ll find a variety of options that cater to different tastes. For a taste of local cuisine, head to the Scalloway Hotel, which offers an award-winning menu that features locally sourced seafood and produce.

Another popular option is Frankie’s Fish & Chips in Brae, known for their delicious, sustainably sourced fish and chips. If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, the Peerie Shop CafĂ© in Lerwick is a cozy spot offering homemade soups, sandwiches, and cakes.

In the evenings, you’ll discover that the Shetland Islands offer a lively pub and club scene. The Lounge Bar in Lerwick is a classic pub with a welcoming atmosphere, serving a great selection of local ales and whiskies. Mareel, also in Lerwick, is not just a contemporary arts center but also a venue for live music, film screenings, and comedy shows.

If you’re in the mood for dancing, head to Posers Nightclub, where you can enjoy a mix of chart-topping tunes and classic hits. No matter your preference, the Shetland Islands offer a wealth of experiences that cater to history buffs, nature lovers, food enthusiasts, and nightlife seekers alike.

Sumburgh Airport - gateway to the Shetland Isles
Photo by Lia Tzanidaki on Unsplash

Airport Codes and More Information

For quick reference, here are the relevant codes for Sumburgh Airport:

  • IATA code: LSI
  • ICAO code: EGPB

To find more information about Sumburgh Airport, including flight schedules, car hire options, and local attractions, you can visit the airport’s official website at https://www.hial.co.uk/sumburgh-airport/. The website provides a wealth of information to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in the Shetland Islands.

Time to Book Your Trip

With its rich history, stunning location, and unique features, Sumburgh Airport provides a one-of-a-kind experience for travellers and aviation enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re visiting the Shetland Islands for business or pleasure, you’ll be sure to appreciate the charm and convenience of this quaint Scottish airport.

So, why not start planning your journey now? Book a flight to Sumburgh Airport, reserve a room at one of the nearby hotels, or explore the many airport-related services available to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Happy travels!

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