Air Greenland

About Air Greenland

Air Greenland A/S is the flag carrier airline of Greenland, owned by the Greenland Home Rule Government, SAS Group, and the government of Denmark. It operates a fleet of 32 aircraft, including 1 airliner used for transatlantic and charter flights, 9 fixed-wing aircraft primarily serving the domestic network, and 22 helicopters feeding passengers from the smaller communities into the domestic airport network. Flights to heliports in the remote settlements are operated on contract with the government of Greenland. Founded in 1960 as Grønlandsfly, the airline started its first services with Catalina water planes and within the decade expanded to include DHC-3 Otters as well as Sikorsky S-61 helicopters, some of which remain in active service. The majority of operations were based on helicopters until the newly established Greenland Home Rule began investing in a network of short takeoff and landing airfields. These were very expensive to construct and Greenland's airport fees are still among the highest in the world; they also required a new fleet: DHC-7 turboprops uniquely suited to the harsh terrain and weather conditions in Greenland. The reliability of connections improved as the domestic airport network expanded in the 1990s: increasing use of the Dash 7s made the airline less restricted by inclement weather. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Air Greenland acquired a Boeing 757 and an Airbus A330, airliners allowing it to open connections to Copenhagen, until then operated by SAS. In the 21st century, it competes with Icelandair for international connections and small charter services domestically. Besides running scheduled services and government-contracted flights to most villages in the country, the airline also supports remote research stations, provides charter services for tourists and Greenland's energy and mineral-resource industries, and permits medivac during emergencies. Air Greenland has two subsidiaries, a travel agency specialized in Greenlandic tourism and the Arctic Umiaq Line, an unprofitable but government-subsidized ferry service.

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