united kingdom Sumburgh

Shetland Islands, Scotland
United Kingdom


Satellite and aerial maps of Sumburgh with nearby locations

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40.4206 Fair Isle North Light, Scotland
42.7206EGEF Fair Isle, Scotland
45.3206 Fair Isle South Light, Scotland
59.7220 c 32nm SW of Sumburgh, Offshore UK
61.6359EGPM Scatsta, Scotland
83.8 15EG39 Fetlar, Scotland

1937 to present

59° 52' 43.68'' N - 1° 17' 28.68'' W
17nm S of Lerwick
Elevation: 19 feet

History of this Location

The airport was built in the late 1930s to provide air services to a number of Scottish airports. From 1940 it was an RAF fighter base to intercept Luftwaffe raids from Norwegian bases, protect the Shetlands but also as reserve cover for the Home Fleet's northern anchorage at Scapa Flow, further south in the Orkney Isles. Sumburgh became Shetland's premier airport over Lerwick (Tingwall) in 1953 and because of its proximity to the mainland. In 1971, in response to the North Sea hydrocarbon exploration and production industry, a brace of C-47s began scheduled services from Aberdeen and helicopter operations soon followed.
Its perimeter road curves around three-quarters of the airfield to the main terminal, built in 1979. Since 1982 the Wilsness Terminal has supplemented passenger movements. To improve reliabilty, a PAMOS weather monitoring system was installed in 1997 but in December 1999, the majority of North Sea oil-related helicopter operations transferred further north to Scatsta, nearer the Sullom Voe oil terminal. It also moved the traffic away from the conspicuous Sumburgh Lighthouse (an 1821 marvel from the prolific Stephenson family, for the Northern Lighthouse Board) and the important Old Scatness Broch archaeological site.  Sumburgh is the most northerly SAR base, towards the northern margin of the UK Search and Rescue Region.

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List of units at Sumburgh

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YearsRotary Wing Aircraft Unitbold : Current Model
normal: Unit no longer at this base
2016/    Babcock Mission Critical Services Offshore
1985/    Shetland DistrictS-92 2007/   
S-61 H-3 1983/08

Sumburgh News

Bristow 5-Years Contract with BP in North Sea, 07-Jun-19 : #oilandgas Bristow, and Eastern Airways, awarded 5-year contract to support BP’s North Sea operations with S-92 out of Aberdeen and Sumburgh

Bristow S-92 to Support TAQA in East Shetland Basin, 08-Mar-18 : Bristow in partnership with Eastern Airways to provide offshore transport to TAQA in the East Shetland basin with Sikorsky S-92 and Saab 2000 aircraft

Bristow Sumburgh SAR Completes 500 mission, 16-Dec-16 : HM Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter service of Sumburgh, in Shetland off the Scottish coast, passed the 500 missions milestone since operated by Bristow from July 2013

Bristow SAR Third Anniversary in Northern Scotland, 29-Jul-16 : Bristow’s Gap SAR search and rescue contract celebrates third anniversary from Sumburgh and Stornoway in Northern Scotland with more than 900 missions with the S-92 helicopters

Bond Launched Aberdeen New Route Via Sumburgh, 16-Dec-15 : Bond Offshore Helicopters launched new service to take passengers to offshore Oil and Gas facilities in the Northern North Sea from Aberdeen via new facilities at Sumburgh Airport, Shetland.

09-Sep-15 - UK Sumburgh SAR 335 Taskings in First Two Years
29-Jul-14 - Bristow First Anniversary of Northern Scotland SAR
25-Apr-14 - UK SAR Oscar Charlie Legacy in Naming Ceremony

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