Friday, November 4, 2022

New runway opened

Air Greenland's aircraft were the first to take off and land on the first stage of Nuuk Airport's new runway, which went into service today, Thursday 3 November. We were there for the take off and landing in Nuuk

Passengers departing on GL 502 at 08:05 had quite a welcome as they were called out to gate number 2 at Nuuk Airport. A number of gentlemen from KAIR in yellow safety jackets welcomed them and handed out a bag of morning bread with the message that they were the first passengers to take off from the new runway.


It marked a new era in the country's aviation history and a final farewell to the old runway, which was put into use in September 1979. Most of those working in the airport area, Mittarfeqarfiit, KAIR and Air Greenland were excited about the first takeoff and landing of the day, but very few of those present can say they were there to send and receive the first planes in September 1979.

One of them is Jørgen Erik Andersen, who was working as an AFIS operator in September 1979. He remembers clearly that he "sent" the first aircraft as Greenland Air's Dash-7 OY-CBT. Today, he helped "send" our Dash-8 aircraft OY-GRG as a consultant in Operations. The memories stirred the emotions of Jørgen, just as the experience of being the first to take off and land on the new runway will also become a fond memory one day for the two Air Greenland crews.


Today's crew of GL 502 from Nuuk to Ilulissat via Kangerlussuaq was Captain Mikael Jakobsen, First Officer Peter Sarkov and Cabin attendant Sara Hansen and they were excited about today's flight. Luckily the weather was stable with clear frost and thus a beautiful morning. After going through all the procedures, welcoming the passengers, "Suloraq" drove out to the new runway. A new sensation that will soon become routine for the pilots so the moment had to be perpetuated with a picture of the runway before getting ready for take-off.


At 08.08 the runway was officially put into use as the aircraft took off out of Nuuk and over the "edge" towards the Road Borgemster Anniitap Aqqutaa.


The pilots had to get through the routine after takeoff before they could give themselves time to put the experience into words. There was a lot of agreement in the cockpit, they had not thought that this take off would give a rush in the stomach and goose bumps when the plane was up a few meters from the runway. It was special and something to pass on to family and friends.


The passengers on the other hand couldn't quite see or feel a difference, however there was a slightly different view of the future airport building. One expressed that he could sense that the runway was completely level. After about 45 minutes of beautiful flight, GL 502 landed in a cold and clear Kangerlussuaq. The passengers were the first of many to go through the airport today.


A little later, GL 540 lands from Nuuk with passengers who are going on to other destinations. After a short stop, the flight continues back to Nuuk with flight number GL 541.


The crew on this flight is Captain Edd Arne Lund, First Officer Benjamin Krarup Hammeken and Cabin attendant Lisbeth Vængtoft Noahsen. They will be the first to have the honour of landing on the new runway in Nuuk, which creates some excitement but also some sadness. The seasoned captain, who has landed thousands of times in Nuuk, explains that learning a new runway is something that will become routine over time, while the first officer, who took off and landed on the old runway, is a little more wistful at the thought of the now old runway. About 25 minutes before landing, the pilots review the procedures to make sure they are calibrated.


The plan was to land from the Sermitsiaq field, but a car on the runway before the approach causes the pilots to take a nice approach along the capital to land on the runway's south side toward Mayor Anniitap Aqqutaa.


Pilots on the first takeoff and landing on the new runway, which by the way is only 930 meters long, were pleased with the runway. A new chapter in the country's aviation history has begun and when the construction of the runway to the 2200 meters is completed in 2024, the opening of the international airport will be marked with the landing of larger aircraft and who knows if it will be our future Atlantic aircraft "Tuukkaq" that will have the honor to land that day.


Here are some pictures from today and video from the takeoff and landing.

PUSH HERE to view the video of about the new runway