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Barra Airport

Traigh Mhor (Big Beach) has been used for beach landings since 1933, but has grown in popularity over the years, from around 7,500 annual passengers in the 1970's to nearly 15,000 per year pre-Covid. It's claim to fame is that it is the only airport in the world that has scheduled flights landing on the beach. Flights land at low tide therefore the timetable changes to suit the tide times. There are three runways marked with concrete posts, giving Barra airport more runways than Heathrow. Other comments made about Barra airport include "it is the only runway washed twice a day". 

Although the airport is operated on a beach, people are able to access the beach at certain points. When the airport is open, you will see large orange windsocks up, this indicates that the beach is not accessible as it is in use as a runway.

When the windsocks are down, the beach is open to swimmers, walkers and families looking to enjoy the beach.  Traigh Mhor is also known as Cockle Strand due to being a great place to forage for the shellfish. When the windsocks are down, you are able to collect cockles - however here are large runway markers to indicate where you are not to dig for cockles to avoid making holes on the runway.

There are two planes which come to Barra, both are Twin Otter Planes. The planes can hold up to 15 passengers. The flights run all year, and in the summer months there can be up to three flights a day between Glasgow and Barra.

 

In 2022, work started on the refurbishment of the terminal building which will improve and expand the terminal for all, and also be more accessible for passengers, visitors and staff with reduced mobility. The works were finished in summer 2023.

 

Barra's airport was voted the top airport in the world in 2011 due to the truly unique experience and making it a massive pull for visitors.

A timeline of Traigh Mhor's beach landings

14th June 1933

7th August 1936

October 1974

1975

1978

1994

2011

2022/23

The beach at Traigh Mhor in the north of the island was commonly used for cockle pickers until the 14th June 1933 when the first plane used the vast beach as a runway to land a plane.

The first scheduled flights from the Traigh Mhor beach began with the beach being licenced as an air field.

Loganair took over responsibility for the route and became the flight operator for the island through British Airways.

Loganair took over the route from Glasgow to Barra.

The first airport terminal was built.

HIAL (Highland and Island Airport Limited) took over responsibility of 11 airports in Scotland including Barra. The company is wholly owned by Scottish ministers.

The beach landing was voted as the top airport in the world after a poll by PrivateFly.com -  a jet charter company.

Airport refurbishment.

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