Opened in Apr 1940 as RAF Scatsta under Coastal Command. The base was to protect the long range flying boats moored in the bay at nearby RAF Sullom Voe. Between Jul 1941 and Apr 1942 a second runway (north west - south east) was built. The RAF
station component at Scatsta closed after the War, in 1946 and the airfield facilities were left in place but there was little private flying. The US Coast Guard installed a radio navigation station in 1968 but the exploitation of hydrocarbons, beginning in the Norwegian
Sector of the North Sea in the early 1970s was a major spur to its further development.
The huge Sullom Voe oil terminus was built in the 9 years from 1973. The airfield reopened in earnest in early summer 1978. By 1982 after the demand to transport and support the construction teams began to fall away, as the terminus moved into operations, there was a small but steady flow of shift staff. With the run down of work at Baltasound (on the nearby Isle of Unst, to the north) operations concentrated on Scatsta. The main runway was extended in 1996 and other improvements made. In Dec 1999, much of the North Sea contract traffic transferred in from Sumburgh
, to the south, so that flights now arrive from Aberdeen
transferring cargo and passengers to helicopters that then head out to the oil platforms of the Brent and Ninian fields, amongst others in the East Shetland Basin. Scatsta is also a poor-weather diversion for commercial flights to Sumburgh.