A city always begins with one airport, usually located outside the city limits to allow the city some space to grow, but still close enough so that the trip to the airport can be completed in under half-an-hour or so. Then as the city grows the volume of air traffic starts increasing and it becomes necessary to construct a second or third airport. But by then the city has grown beyond anything that anybody had ever imagined. The primary airport that was originally 30 minutes away from the city center is now engulfed by the new city. Any new airports would now have to be constructed further away from the city because there is no longer room left.
Many budget airlines use these secondary airports because of lower operational costs compared to more central airports, which is totally fair, as it keeps the fare cheap. But things get offensive when airliners start advertising flights to a destination but land at airports that are hundreds of kilometers away from it. Jetstar Asia attempted to pull such a trick in 2011 by announcing cheap flights from Singapore to Shanghai, but instead landing at Hangzhou which is nearly 200 km away. The flight appears to have been cancelled, but there are plenty of such flights still operational, and even airports, with misleading names. Here are some of the worst offenders.
A Ryanair flight stands on the tarmac of the Memmingen airport, located 110 km from Munich.
The Paris Vatry Disney Airport is actually called Châlons Vatry Airport, but is marketed as such by Ryanair for their cheap flights to Paris. The airport is located 147 km from the center of Paris, and is actually closer to Disney (105 km) than to Paris.
Frankfurt–Hahn Airport is located 10 km from the town of Kirchberg in the Rhein-Hunsrück district of Rhineland-Palatinate to the west of central Germany. Despite its name, the airport is virtually equidistant between Frankfurt and Luxembourg – about 120 km to each city by road. The addition of Frankfurt to its name, however, is not an invention of low-cost carriers as is the case with some other airports – Frankfurt-Hahn is the airport’s official name as it positioned itself as an alternative to Frankfurt Airport for low-cost and cargo traffic.
Memmingen Airport is located in the town of Memmingerberg, in the Swabia region of Germany, but is used as a low-cost alternative to Munich Airport and therefore is sometimes referred to as Memmingen/Munich-West Airport or similar by some low-cost airlines. It lies 110 km away from Munich.
Sandefjord Airport, Torp, is located northeast of Sandefjord, Norway and 110 km south of Oslo. Starting 1997, the airport became a destination for Ryanair, who marketed it as an airport serving Oslo.
Stockholm Västerås Airport is located at the city Västerås, Sweden, and is used to serve Stockholm even though it’s 100 km away from Stockholm.
Stockholm Skavsta Airport is another airport that serves Stockholm, used by low-cost airlines and cargo operators and is the third largest airport in Sweden, with an ability to handle 2.5 million passengers annually. It is located 100 km from Stockholm, but uses Stockholm for marketing purposes anyway.
London Oxford Airport is a privately owned airport located near Kidlington, 11 km away from Oxford, and100 km from Central London. It was originally called Kidlington Airport but was rebranded as London Oxford Airport in 2009, leading to much press comment and criticism as the new name was misleading.
Girona–Costa Brava Airport is located 12.5 km southwest of the city of Girona. The airport is used as an alternative airport for Barcelona, even though the airport is 92 km north of Barcelona.
Reus Airport is located by the beaches of Costa Daurada, near the city of Reus. The airport receives a large amount of tourist traffic from passengers destined for Barcelona, which is approximately 100 km to the northeast.
Beauvais–Tillé Airport is in Tille, near the city of Beauvais in France. Despite its official name Aéroport de Beauvais-Tillé, it’s located 85 km away from Paris, and some low-cost airlines serving the airport refer to it as Paris–Beauvais for marketing purposes.
Weeze Airport is located in the municipality of Weeze, about 70 km from Düsseldorf. Low-cost operators such as Ryanair refers to it as “Düsseldorf-Weeze”.
London Stansted Airport is located at Stansted Mountfitchet 68 km from London. It is used by a number of major European low-cost carriers.
London Southend Airport is located in the district of Rochford approximately 68 km from the centre of London.
Tokyo Narita Airport, formerly and originally known as New Tokyo International Airport, serves the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located approximately 60 km east of central Tokyo.
This feature originally appeared in the Amusing Planet.