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Four destinations that Sumburgh Airport could (and should) fly to

Shetland's biggest airport is the seventh busiest in Scotland.

Sumburgh Airport.
Sumburgh Airport is located on the southern tip of mainland Shetland.

Sumburgh Airport in Shetland has scheduled destinations to Orkney, mainland Scotland and London – but where else should the hub fly to?

Owned by Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (Hial), Sumburgh’s seven scheduled flights – all with Loganair – connects Shetland with:

  • Aberdeen
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Inverness
  • Kirkwall
  • London Heathrow (via Dundee)

Sumburgh also has direct seasonal flights to Bergen in Norway – via Edinburgh – with Loganair.

Loganair aircraft.
Loganair is the only airline currently flying to and from Sumburgh. Image: Loganair.

Located on mainland Shetland’s southern tip, data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows that just under 250,000 passengers used the airport in 2023.

This figure makes it the seventh busiest airport in Scotland – after Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow Prestwick – and the third busiest in the north of the country.

Based on figures from 2022, the most popular destination from the Shetland hub is Aberdeen, which saw a total 92,842 passengers.

Sumburgh Airport from above.
Will new airlines be flying into Sumburgh soon? Image: 3×1.

Rounding up the top three was Edinburgh and Glasgow, which had 35,830 and 21,468 passengers respectively.

Surprisingly, flights to Kirkwall in Shetland’s Northern Isle neighbour Orkney attracted more passengers (8,967) than the one to the Highland capital Inverness (7,972).

Here’s our top-four list of destinations that could prove successful if you could fly direct from Sumburgh Airport.

Faroe Islands

Eysturoyartunnil is the world’s first underwater roundabout. Image: Norconsult.

To the north-west of Shetland in the North Atlantic Ocean lies the Faroe Islands archipelago, who many Shetlanders look on with envy due to their level of autonomy and network of island connecting road tunnels, including three subsea ones.

The most famous one is Eysturoyartunnil, which opened in 2020 and contains the world’s first underwater roundabout at 72 metres below sea level.

There is much to explore in this autonomous territory, including the capital Torshavn – where grass roofs can be seen at the historic Tinganes – as well as majestic cliffs and coastlines.

An Atlantic Airways flight used to connect Sumburgh and Vagar, but no longer does.


Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United play their home matches at Old Trafford.

Manchester – or “Madchester” due to the music and cultural scene that developed in the late 1980s – is considered by many to be the UK’s second city and has even been described as the “London of the North”.

Although the Madchester days are behind it and the famous Hacienda nightclub is no longer, the home of Oasis has reinvented itself this century, with nearby Salford Quays being home to MediaCity UK.

Who can forget, it is also plays host to football powerhouses Manchester City and Manchester United – the latter who play at the world famous Old Trafford – and for shoppers there is the Trafford Centre.


Oslo, Norway.
Oslo is a dynamic city.

Shetland is proud of its Norse heritage and the annual Up Helly Aa that takes place each January is testament to this. Shetland – along with Orkney – remained a Norwegian possession until 1471.

What better way to celebrate these links by having a direct flight to Norway’s capital Oslo? The global city has lots for visitors to see, including the Royal Palace and the famous street Karl Johans Gate, as well as the 75-mile Oslofjord inlet.

As well as giving Shetlanders the chance to visit Oslo and boost visitor numbers to Shetland, Gardermoen Airport could be used for people connecting flights, with destinations including Bangkok, Dubai, Miami and Seoul.


The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions. Image: Shutterstock.

The Icelandic capital Reykjavik is probably the most ambitious of the destinations included, but why not?

Famous for its colourful old town and architecture, the world’s northernmost capital is also famous for its proximity to volcanoes.

Hot springs are an attraction too, which brings us to geothermal spas, with Blue Lagoon being one of Iceland’s most visited attractions.

A direct flight would open up a new destination to the whole north of Scotland, as only Edinburgh and Glasgow have direct Scottish flights there.

Also, due to its location, Keflavik Airport is great for connecting to North America and has flights to cities including New York, Seattle and Toronto.

Sumburgh to Seattle via Reykjavík? Image: Michael Weber/imageBROKER/Shutterstock.

If any of these destinations were implemented, then it would not only benefit tourism in Shetland, but would also allow Shetlanders to fly to – and connect to – more destinations from the archipelago’s main airport.

Also, it would allow Sumburgh Airport to position itself as a major airport within the north of Scotland, which would only benefit the Shetland economy.

Sumburgh Airport – working ‘closely with airlines’

A spokesman for HIAL said: “Sumburgh Airport works closely with airlines to identify, maintain and develop routes that provide sustainable connectivity from Shetland.

“Currently, passengers flying from Sumburgh can connect with international destinations through connecting hubs, including via Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.”