Uncovering The Hidden Gem: Kirkwall Airport (KOI)

Join us as we delve into the captivating world of Kirkwall Airport, a charming and lesser-known airport situated in the stunning Orkney Islands of Scotland. We’ll explore its fascinating history, the airlines that serve this unique airport, and much more. So, sit back and immerse yourself in the enchanting story of Kirkwall Airport!

A Journey Through Time: The History of Kirkwall Airport

Kirkwall Airport (KOI) was established in 1940 as a military airfield during World War II. It played a crucial role in providing air support and reconnaissance for the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm. After the war, the airport transitioned to civilian use, offering regional flights to the Scottish mainland and other nearby islands.

Today, Kirkwall Airport serves as an essential transport hub for the remote Orkney Islands, connecting them with the rest of Scotland and beyond. Despite its small size, the airport is a vital lifeline for the local community and travellers alike.

Airlines Taking Flight from Kirkwall Airport

Kirkwall Airport is served by a handful of airlines that offer regular and seasonal flights to various destinations. These airlines include:

  • Loganair: As Scotland’s regional airline, Loganair connects Kirkwall Airport with major cities such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. They also provide essential inter-island flights within the Orkney Islands, ensuring seamless transportation for residents and visitors.
  • Flybe (operated by Eastern Airways): Flybe, in partnership with Eastern Airways, offers flights from Kirkwall Airport to Aberdeen and other regional airports, providing travellers with additional options when planning their journeys.

What Sets Kirkwall Airport Apart

Kirkwall Airport may be small in size, but it has several unique features that make it an unforgettable travel experience:

  1. Breathtaking Scenery: Located amidst the captivating Orkney Islands, Kirkwall Airport offers unparalleled views of the rugged coastline, lush greenery, and the rich archaeological heritage of the region.
  2. Friendly, Personalised Service: With its intimate atmosphere and dedicated staff, Kirkwall Airport provides a warm and welcoming experience for all travellers. The small size of the airport allows for a more personalised touch, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable journey.
  3. Rich History: As a former military airfield, Kirkwall Airport has a fascinating history that adds to its charm and allure. Aviation enthusiasts and history buffs alike will appreciate the airport’s storied past.

Lounges at Kirkwall Airport

While Kirkwall Airport does not have any dedicated lounges, the airport terminal features a comfortable seating area for travellers to relax in before their flights. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal, allowing passengers to stay connected and entertained during their wait.

Terminal Information

Kirkwall Airport has a single terminal, known as the Kirkwall Airport Terminal. This modest terminal houses all airline check-in desks, security checkpoints, and boarding gates, ensuring a straightforward and efficient experience for travellers.

Accommodation Options

There are no hotels within the airport grounds, but several accommodation options are available within a short distance of Kirkwall Airport. Some popular choices include:

  1. The Ayre Hotel: Located in the heart of Kirkwall, this family-run hotel offers comfortable rooms, an on-site restaurant, and a bar. The Ayre Hotel is an excellent option for travellers seeking a convenient and cosy stay.
  2. The Kirkwall Hotel: This historic hotel, situated on Kirkwall’s harbourfront, provides guests with elegant rooms, an on-site restaurant, and a bar. The Kirkwall Hotel is perfect for travellers seeking a more upscale experience near the airport.
  3. The Albert Hotel: This charming, family-owned hotel is located in the centre of Kirkwall and offers comfortable rooms, an on-site restaurant, and a bar. The Albert Hotel is a great choice for travellers looking for a friendly and welcoming atmosphere close to the airport.

What To See And Where To Eat In the Orkney Islands

One of the must-see attractions on the Orkney Islands is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, which includes Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Stenness, and Maeshowe. Skara Brae, a well-preserved prehistoric village, offers a fascinating glimpse into life from over 5,000 years ago.

The Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness are impressive ancient stone circles, while Maeshowe is a chambered tomb with remarkable Viking graffiti. Be sure to also visit the Italian Chapel, a beautiful symbol of hope built by Italian prisoners of war during World War II.

For those interested in wildlife and natural beauty, a visit to the RSPB Nature Reserve at Marwick Head is essential. Home to thousands of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes, it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. Take the opportunity to explore some of the stunning coastal walks and beaches, such as the Brough of Birsay, a tidal island with a picturesque lighthouse and ancient Norse ruins.

The Orkney Islands also offer plenty of water-based activities, such as kayaking, diving, and seal-spotting boat tours.

When it comes to dining and entertainment, the Orkney Islands have a variety of options to suit all tastes. The Foveran Restaurant in St Ola is renowned for its innovative menu featuring fresh, local ingredients, while the Creel in St Margaret’s Hope is a popular seafood restaurant with stunning harbor views.

For a more casual dining experience, try the Peedie Chippie in Stromness, which serves up delicious fish and chips. In the evenings, unwind with a pint at the historic Helgi’s pub in Kirkwall or dance the night away at Fusion nightclub. Don’t forget to sample some of the local whiskies and gins at the Highland Park Distillery or the Orkney Distillery for a true taste of the islands.

Uncovering The Hidden Gem: Kirkwall Airport (KOI)
Photo by Maxwell Andrews on Unsplash

Airport Codes and More Information

For quick reference, here are the relevant codes for Kirkwall Airport:

  • IATA code: KOI
  • ICAO code: EGPA

To find more information about Kirkwall Airport, including flight schedules, car hire options, and local attractions, you can visit the airport’s official website at https://www.hial.co.uk/kirkwall-airport/. The website provides a wealth of information to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in the breathtaking Orkney Islands.

Embark on Your Orkney Adventure

With its rich history, spectacular scenery, and personalised service, Kirkwall Airport offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience for travellers and aviation enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re exploring the Orkney Islands for business or pleasure, you’ll appreciate the charm and convenience of this remarkable regional airport.

So, why not start planning your Orkney adventure today? Book a flight to Kirkwall Airport, reserve a room at one of the nearby hotels, or explore the many airport-related services available to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Happy travels!

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