Welcome to this first review on an Air Greenland flight on fligh-report.com.
Greenland is the country with the lowest population density in the world: a population of only about 56,000 for 2,166,000 km² or 836,330 sq mi (a hundred times less people than in the UK for nine times the size of the UK). There are no roads between the towns and settlements so the only way to get around, with the exception of coastal ships in Summer and dogsleds in Winter, is flying. It is however extremely costly; a typical one-way flight between two neighbouring towns costs DKK 1400 (around 200 Euros).
Nuuk, the capital city has a population of about 18,000. Due to the geographical features of the area, political issues and high construction costs Nuuk Airport’s runway is only 950 meters long, so not suitable for jets such as an A320 or a B787. Most passengers have to fly from Nuuk to Kangerlussuaq which has, despite being a small settlement of about 500 people, a runway long enough for Air Greenland’s A330 that flies to Copenhagen. To connect with every long-haul flights from Kangerlussuaq to Denmark several Bombardier Q200 fly the short route from Nuuk.
Before we get into the details of the flight some photos of Nuuk where I spent a few days for work:
I was invited on a sightseeing flight onboard an Air Zafari Greenland plane – very spectacular! It was one of the highlights of my stay.
I got to the airport one hour before scheduled time of departure. It’s a 10 minute drive from town. You can also take a taxi (around DKK 150) or the public bus (DKK 15).
An Air Greenland aircraft from Keflavik landing on the single runway
I was checked in in a minute. The check-in area, the cafeteria and the boarding are all together
Our flight was scheduled to leave at 13.45. First it was delayed to 14.15. We were then told that due to a technical problem with the aircraft further information would be available at 16.15. Then we were told that departure would be at 18.15. Information was given in a mostly informal way, and while it was not certainly as professional as you would expect maybe in Singapore, it was not really a problem here. All passengers were waiting quietly, people were reading, resting or talking, nobody was arguing or complaining. There was however no wifi at the airport and the cafeteria closed at 16.00. On the plus side there are plugs near the seats so I could easily charge my mobile phone.
Boarding eventually started at 18.20. The view over the apron – how many Air Greenland aircrafts can you count on the photo?
Our aircraft: Air Greenland’s Q200, OY-GRK, a 20 year old plane
The plane has 8 rows of seats in a 2+2 configuration and an 8th row with 5 seats, so a total of 37 seats
There is free seating on Air Greenland’s domestic flights and I was lucky to get seat 1D with huge legroom
The safety card
The onboard magazine
We took off at 18.30 and we immediately had stunning views over the airport and the Nuuk area
Water, tea or coffee is served with a small cookie
More nice views over Greenland
A candy was offered before landing
We were landing at Kangerlussuaq at 19.20
Our plane after landing
Kangerlussuaq is one of the strangest airports in the world. Located near the inland ice, the airport was built by the US Army in the Second World War and is today the main hub for Air Greenland for two reasons: it has a runway long enough to accommodate all types of aircraft and for having a very reliable climate. The only raison d’être of the small town here is to serve the airport.
All passengers on my flight were connecting to Reykjavík on Air Iceland’s comfortable Q400 which waited for our delayed inbound aircraft from Nuuk. The delay was well managed in Kangerlussuaq with all boarding passes printed in advance and all luggage transferred automatically.
Thank you for reading my flight report!
Nuuk - GOH
Kangerlussuaq - SFJ
Despite the long delay of 4 hours and 45 minutes it’s always a pleasure for me to fly over Greenland and enjoy the fantastic views.
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