Airline launches 12-minute flight from Toronto to Niagara: the world's shortest flight?

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There's no drinks service or in-flight entertainment system, but passengers on board the newest Greater Toronto Airways service won't have time to get bored. That's because its Toronto to Niagara route, which will whisk travellers from the Ontario metropolis to the home of North America's most famous waterfalls from September 15, will take just 12 minutes. 

A ticket will cost from CA$85 (£50) one-way, however, or $159 (£95) return, for the brief flight between Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport and Niagara District Airport. That works out as roughly £4 per minute in the air.

Travelling by road, the 115km drive between Toronto and Niagara – around the edges of Lake Ontario – is at least an hour-long drive in good traffic, but it is often gridlocked. ViaRail offers a 90-minute train trip between the cities, from CA$39 (£23) one-way.

See also: World's longest flight routes

But from September, commuters and holidaymakers can hop on board the eight-seater planes twice a day from Monday to Friday, all year round.

The flight passes over Lake Ontario, with views over the border into the USA – and for some, 12 minutes isn't long enough to enjoy the spectacle. The test flight at last week's launch took 14 minutes and 45 seconds, said David Nissan, vice-president of operations at Greater Toronto Airways. "We did go a little slower today, just to enjoy the scenery on the way," he explained.

There are no lengthy check-in queues either: passengers only need to arrive 15 minutes before take-off, and for Canadian travellers no passports are needed – only photo ID cards, which are issued to all Canadian citizens. "Random" security checks will be carried out on board.

"It's going to be big," said Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati of the launch. "People are always asking, 'Is there a quicker way?' We've been trying for years to attract a flight partner."

"This is the tip of the iceberg," he added. "Niagara is now on the radar."


See also: World's most scenic airport approaches

Alas, the 12-minute trip isn't the world's shortest commercial flight: that accolade goes to Loganair's Orkney Islands route between Westray and Papa Westray, in northern Scotland. The official flight time is two minutes, but in good conditions the journey takes just 47 seconds.

As well as its eponymous waterfalls, Niagara is famed for its parkland, botanical gardens and wineries. The lakeside city of Toronto is Canada's most populated – with the CN Tower, Casa Loma castle and thriving arts scene attracting more than 1.4 million international tourists in 2015.

The airline is also planning to offer flights between Toronto and Collingwood and Muskoka – other popular commuter routes.

The world's shortest commercial flights

2 minutes: Westray to Papa Westray, Scotland. 3.2km; operated by Loganair

10 minutes: Cayman Brac to Little Cayman, Cayman Islands. 24.7km; operated by Cayman Airways

12 minutes: Toronto to Niagara, Canada. 50km; operated by Greater Toronto Airways

15 minutes: Caye Chapel to Caye Caulker, Belize. 7.8; operated by Maya Island Air

15 minutes: Karpathos to Kasos, Greece. 28km; operated by Olympic Air

15 minutes: St. Kitts to Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis. 31km; operated by LIAT

The Telegraph, London

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