December 31, 2012

Struth! World's shortest air route also the most expensive

Heli Air Monaco flies 48 times between Monaco and Nice every day on
what is possibly the world's shortest and most expensive scheduled air route

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis wonders if Monaco's Heli Air can claim to have the world's smallest scheduled air service timetable – it has just one route, and that's a mere 7-minutes between Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco, and Nice Airport in France that it flies 30 times a day in each direction.

And while it started in 1976 with just one helipad and in its first year flew just 747 passengers, it now has ten helipads at its base on Monte Carlo harbour and in 36 years has carried around 1.7-million passengers…with no other airport facility within Monaco's tiny 2sq km landmass, and the road journey to Nice Cote D'Azur Airport taking 40-minutes, the quick 7-minute helicopter service is popular with business travellers and upmarket holidaymakers happy to pay E220 (AU$271) each for the round-trip.

Heli Air flies its route from 8.30am to 7.45pm daily, and as well also flies to select destinations on the French Riviera, in Switzerland, Corsica and Italy, the longest flight being 2hrs 35m to Rome and the shortest just 12m to San Remo; but these are non-scheduled flights, and are flown on an as-requested basis.

Traveloscopy editor asks: Is this also the world's most expensive air route? YO 1745 E110 for 7 minutes = E943/hour (US$1244/hr). Concorde took 3hrs 20mins between LHR and JFK (BA172) and a cheap fare was US$3000 one way. (US$909/hr)

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