March 26, 2023

The island of Corsica sits to the southeast of the French mainland, in the course of the Mediterranean sea. It’s the fourth-largest Mediterranean island, besides, it’s nonetheless a reasonably small place. At its longest level, it’s 114 miles (183 km) lengthy, and at its widest, it’s 52 miles (83 km) extensive.

And but, for an island that’s smaller than lots of France’s particular person prefectures, it has a stunning variety of airports. When it comes to industrial airports, there are 4. Should you embody navy and basic aviation airports, there are six in whole.


To place this in perspective, the inhabitants of Corsica is simply 339,000 folks, and the island has a landmass of three,368 sq. miles (8,722 sq km), but it boasts 4 industrial airports. Malta has a bigger inhabitants of 504,000 however only one airport. Sardinia, which boasts a landmass of 9,300 sq. miles (24,000 sq km) and a inhabitants of 1.64 million, helps three industrial airports.

Clearly, Corsica is wealthy in aviation amenities – let’s take a look at its 4 industrial airports and why such a small island has so many locations for airways to land.

Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport

Positioned within the west of Corsica, Ajaccio is the primary industrial airport serving the most important settlement on the island, Ajaccio. It’s house to Air Corsica, which flies to numerous locations in France in addition to providing seasonal service to London, Rome and Venice.

Air France, Volotea, easyJet and Chalair are different frequent operators on the airport, connecting it with a number of locations, though nonetheless principally in France. Different operators provide single vacation spot seasonal companies, similar to Brussels Airways to Brussels, Smartwings to Prague and SWISS to Geneva.

Pre-pandemic, it dealt with 1.67 million passengers a 12 months. Final 12 months, it climbed again up from COVID-related lows to course of 1.41 million passengers.

Bastia – Poretta Airport

Within the northeast of the island, Bastia Airport is situated in Lucciana, round 11 miles (17 km) south of the city of Bastia. Bastia is the second-largest neighborhood after Ajaccio. Though smaller than Ajaccio Airport, Bastia has a very good number of operators connecting it to many European locations.

Bastia is within the northeast of the island. Photograph: Bastia Airport

Air Corsica is a serious operator there once more, flying to French cities year-round and including extra in the summertime season, in addition to a service to Gothenburg in Sweden. Air France connects to Paris year-round and to a wealth of locations through the summer season. Vueling operates year-round to Barcelona.

Different seasonal operators embody British Airways for London, Lufthansa for Frankfurt and Munich, Iberia for Madrid, and each Norwegian and SAS for Copenhagen and Stockholm. In all, the airport sees companies by 19 operators. Pre-pandemic, it served 1.56 million passengers, and in 2021 1.2 million handed via its doorways.

Calvi – Sainte-Catherine Airport

Up within the northwest, Calvi Airport is the smallest of the 4 airports on Corsica. It has service from 9 operators, together with Air Corsica and Air France, in addition to easyJet, Luxair, SWISS and Transavia.

Calvi Airport is a really small and primary airport facility. Photograph: Calvi Airport

It served 336,000 passengers pre-pandemic and reached 289,000 in 2021. The airport has very restricted amenities, given its dimension, with only one small café and a compact comfort retailer. There isn’t any pharmacy, cashpoint, or facility for cash altering.

Its location on the coast of the island means pilots wishing to land there require particular coaching. Flights can’t land outdoors daytime, and in windy situations, they’re more likely to be diverted to Bastia.

Figari-Sud Corse Airport

Figari Airport is situated within the far south of the island, simply a few miles outdoors the small village of Figari. Whereas Figari itself isn’t a scorching vacationer vacation spot, the placement of the airport makes it straightforward to succeed in bigger and extra in style resorts, together with Porto-Vecchio, Sartene and Bonifacio.

Figari is the one airport on Corsica served by Ryanair. Photograph: Getty Photos

Figari is served by Air Corsica year-round; all different operators are seasonal solely. These embody Air France, British Airways, easyJet, Edelweiss and SWISS. Figari is the one Corsican airport served by low-cost favourite Ryanair, which connects it seasonally to Beauvais, Charleroi and Rome.

In 2019, it noticed 749,000 passengers however beat that document in 2021 with a complete of 790,000 passengers passing via the airport.

Why so many?

Corsica is a really mountainous island; in truth, some would describe the whole island as merely a big mountain within the sea. It’s the most mountainous island within the Mediterranean, and journey across the island can contain driving alongside some hair-raising mountain roads or taking the very gradual, bone-shaking ‘U Trinighellu’ (little prepare).

Many guests simply wish to arrive and calm down at their resort, so flying into an airport that’s near their last vacation spot is much extra interesting and handy than making an attempt to attach from Ajaccio. Due to this, the island is able to supporting all 4 industrial airports.

Whereas that goes some approach to explaining the continued persistence of those airports, it doesn’t solely cowl the story of how they get there within the first place.

The US navy opened 17 airfields on Corsica throughout WWII. Photograph: USAAF through AFHRC

Within the Forties, Corsica was beneath the rule of the Vichy French, which was in cahoots with Nazi Germany. They have been pushed out in 1943, making Corsica the primary French Division to be freed. Due to this, the US navy established an unimaginable 17 airfields on the island, incomes it the nickname ‘USS Corsica’. Its strategic location made it a perfect base from which to launch tactical bombing strikes in German-occupied Italy, and a few of these airports survive to today.

Bastia, Calvi and Ajaccio (then Campo dell ’Oro) have their roots within the struggle instances, though Ajaccio was a basic aviation airstrip earlier than struggle broke out. Solely Figari has been constructed for the reason that struggle, opening in 1975. Additionally on the island is Ghisonaccia Alzitone Airport, a basic aviation airfield, and Solenzara Air Base, a navy facility, each of which took place throughout WWII.

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