Greenland’s national airline – Air Greenland(GL), has been operating since 1960, originally founded under the trade name of Grønlandsfly until 2002, when the carrier’s name was rebranded to its current form.
During the company’s early years, Catalina planes were used which could land both on water and on the runways in Narsarsuaq and Kangerlussuaq that were constructed by the American forces during the Second World War. When planes were due to land the runway had to be cleared of icebergs and ice floes, and every town had a unique airport code which was painted on a number of roofs on the houses in the town.
In 1965 heliports were established in all towns, and flights were carried out by S-61 helicopters, which could carry up to 20 passengers. At that time the total flight network in Greenland was around 3,000 km, which was the world’s longest air network serviced by helicopters. The need for both goods and passenger transport increased as a result of the rapid development that Greenland was undergoing in the 1960s and 1970s. As helicopters were – and still are – expensive to run, transport gradually began to shift over to fixed-wing aircraft. Airports were built, first in Nuuk in 1979 and then in Ilulissat in 1983. Later the majority of towns along the west coast got their own airport.
Our mission at Air Greenland is to make Greenland more accessible to those wanting to explore this beautiful landscape. Since 2010, the domestic fleet has been upgraded with faster and more environmentally-friendly Dash-8 equipment. Today these airplanes serve the majority of routes in Greenland and the routes to Iceland as well. The growth in the number of passengers has increased from 15,000 passengers in 1965 to over 400,000 in 2014. Air Greenland offers flights throughout Greenland including Nuuk, Kangerlussuaq & Sisimiut in the Midwest part of the country, as well as to Qaqortoq and Narsarsuaq in South Greenland and Ilulissat in North Greenland.
Air Greenland’s mission is to give our customers attractive overseas and domestic travel, and to function as a developer of tourism and a partner for public authorities and commercial organizations in and around Greenland. We will develop our traffic system where it generates value for our customers and Air Greenland, and attract and develop the right employees. We are conscious of our social responsibility and take this responsibility very seriously.
Air Greenland is working with a strategic plan called Qarsoq 2017, which is based on the values that were adopted in the previous strategic plan, Qarsoq 2012:
- Commercial logic
- Accessible service
- Mutual problem-solving (within the company)
- Respectful openness
Air Greenland is also responsible for search and rescue operations (often abbreviated to SAR), and functions as an ambulance if patients need to be evacuated to a major hospital or for treatment in Denmark. Furthermore, Air Greenland provides helicopters to assist in mineral exploration and performs chartered tasks both in and outside Greenland. Air Greenland’s aircraft and equipment have been involved in jobs in territories as diverse as Antarctica, Nepal, and Africa.
Operating regular-scheduled flights year round to Greenland via their main European Hub in Copenhagen and seasonal flights from Reykjavik, Air Greenland is always ready to attend to furthering the traveling needs and interests to the markets we serve. Air Greenland participates in major GDS systems and is represented in North America by Air Promotion Group (APG).
For more information on Air Greenland, visit them online at www.apg-usa.us/air-greenland.