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Andorra is one of the countries that does not have its own airport. Image: Adobe Stock

Which countries have no airport?

Despite the climate crisis, flying is still the preferred way for many people to travel to foreign countries. However, this is not possible in every case. Five countries do not have their own airport.

There are between 193 and 207 countries in the world - depending on how you count. Interestingly, five of them do not have an airport. Whether a country has an airport or not depends on several criteria.

The first limiting factor is geography. All the countries on the list are fairly small in terms of area—and airports require long runways that are flat; if the country is located in a mountainous region, there may not be an area long and flat enough to prepare for aircraft take-offs and landings. Other countries on the list are located in densely populated areas where there is simply not enough space available to build an airport.

The second killer criterion is economic viability, and the construction of a regional airport is extremely expensive. What all the countries on the list have in common is a small population, which cannot justify the costs of building an airport. What's more, maintaining an airport also incurs high costs. The following five countries have to make do without an airport.

Andorra

Andorra is located between Spain and France and is the largest country on the list that does not have an airport. It has an area of 468 square kilometres and a population of around 80,000.

The nearest major airports are Barcelona-El Prat in Spain and Toulouse in France. Both airports are around a three-hour drive from Andorra. However, there is another option for travelling by plane that is much closer: Andorra-La Seu Airport, in the L'Alt Urgell in Catalonia, is about 26 kilometres from Andora.

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is 160 square kilometres in size - sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria. Around 40,000 people live in the Principality. The fact that Liechtenstein does not have its own airport could be one of the reasons why no other European country attracts as few tourists as this dwarf state in the Alps.

The nearest airport for Liechtenstein residents is Altenrhein Airport in the canton of St. Gallen. It is around 30 minutes away by car. If you want to fly from Zurich Airport, it takes just under an hour and a half by car from Vaduz. Nevertheless, Liechtenstein is not completely cut off from air transport: there is a privately operated helicopter airfield in Balzers.

Monaco

Monaco is a haven for the rich and beautiful. The city state on the French Riviera borders France on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. With an area of just over two square kilometres, Monaco it is the second smallest country in the world.

Just under 37,000 people live in the principality. In addition, there are around five million visitors every year who arrive either by car, train or plane via the Côte d'Azur airport in Nice. It is around 40 minutes by car from Monaco. There is a helicopter airport in Monaco for particularly wealthy or important guests.

San Marino

San Marino is a landlocked country surrounded on all sides by Italy. The country is one of the oldest republics in the world and is rich in famous monuments. It has an area of just over 61 square kilometres and a population of just under 35,000.

The nearest airport is Federico Fellini International Airport in the Italian city of Rimini. There is a regular bus service between Rimini and San Marino. The journey takes between 30 and 40 minutes.

Vatican City

Vatican City, the smallest country in the world, serves as the seat of the Pope and the center of the Roman Catholic Church. This city-state is home to numerous famous works of art and historic buildings.

Covering an area of just 44 hectares—roughly equivalent to 60 football pitches—Vatican City offers citizenship only on a temporary basis. Members of the Swiss Guard and government officials can reside in the Vatican for specific periods. As of last year, Vatican City had an official population of 825 people.

Vatican City does not have its own airport, but this is not a significant issue, as Rome-Ciampino and Rome-Fiumicino airports are very close by. However, the Vatican does have a heliport, which is used by the Pope and visiting heads of state.

In «The World Factbook», which is published by the CIA, the number of airports and aerodromes is listed for all countries in the world. The USA is at the top of the list with over 13,500 airports. Brazil (just under 4,100) and Mexico (just over 1,700) follow in second place. In Switzerland, the CIA counted 63 airports and aerodromes.

(RSU)