Kandahar World’s Busiest Single Runway Airport




Kandahar World’s Busiest Single Runway Airport 

By Lance Cpl. Gregory Aalto


September 10, 2009, With the increase in forces in southern Afghanistan, Kandahar Airfield has become the busiest single-runway airport in the world.

Peaking in late May at an estimated 5,500 flights per week, the airfield has maintained more than 5,000 flights per week through June and July, said Col. Bill Buckey, the airfield's operations officer, a Marine augmented to NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

Previously, the busiest single-runway airport in the world was the London Gatwick Airport, averaging around 5,000 flights per week.


Marine Attack Squadron 214 "Black Sheep" and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 Detachment A, both with Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, are the only Marine aviation units solely based here.

Controlling the heavy amount of air traffic is Midwest Air Traffic Control, a contracted company from Kansas City, Mo., said Buckey, who is serving a six-month tour in Afghanistan's second-largest city.

"This is the first time NATO has ever owned a base this big. It's really amazing how everyone is cooperating. I'm pretty impressed," said Buckey, a native of Sacramento, Calif.

The total flights at Kandahar are also higher than some of the busiest airports in the world per runway.

London Heathrow Airport averages 4,600 flights per runway per week and Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris averages 2,700 flights per runway per week.

The numbers are skewed because unlike civilian airports, Kandahar has military fixed and rotary wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles as well as civilian flights and light civil aircraft, said Buckey, who is also a trained F/A-18 Hornet pilot.

As operations in southern Afghanistan continue, the tempo for Kandahar Airfield will continue in order to provide aerial support to the International Security Assistance Force's counterinsurgency mission.

©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                                  Contact Us              Return To News

AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator