Telomere length (TL) decreases with cellular ageing and biological stressors. As advanced donor and recipient ages are risk factors for chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD), we hypothesised that decreased age-adjusted donor TL would predict earlier onset of CLAD. Shorter donor TL was associated with increased risk of CLAD or death (HR 1.26 per 1 kb TL decrease, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.54), particularly for young donors. Recipient TL was associated with cytopenias but not CLAD. Shorter TL was also seen in airway epithelium for subjects progressing to CLAD (p=0.02). Allograft TL may contribute to CLAD pathogenesis and facilitate risk stratification.