Saturday, February 3, 2024
In the last few days, many people have been involved in getting our operation in East Greenland flying again. Now we can tell you more about what's happening as the plans are coming together and the shuttle flight is up and flying.
As many of our customers travelling to and from Tasiilaq and the settlements in the region have experienced, we have had technical challenges with our helicopter in the area. The repair of the fault requires a specific competence that has not been easy to obtain.
Therefore, we have been looking at other solutions, such as moving one of our helicopters from Narsarsuaq to Tasiilaq today, Saturday. But this is no longer necessary.
Air Greenland and Greenland Copter in Kulusuk Saturday February 3rd 2024. Photo: Lars Poulsen
On Wednesday, two of our helicopter technicians were flown to Kulusuk to help the local helicopter provider, Greenland Copter, get one of their AS350 helicopters ready to handle the shuttle flights for Air Greenland. Unfortunately, the weather in the area was a delaying factor, but yesterday, Friday, Greenland Copter brought our technicians to Tasiilaq where they have now prepared the helicopter to be approved by the authorities for passenger flights.
Air Greenland has chartered Greenland Copter's AS350 helicopter OY-HZN with room for 5 passengers to fly shuttle until our own helicopter is ready.
Photo taken after the technicians from Air Greenland helped getting Greenland Copter AS350 approved of the authorities. Photo: Tim Nicolaisen
Pilot has arrived
In the aviation industry, there are many rules that must be followed for safety reasons, such as pilots being certified, and aircraft and helicopters being maintained before they can fly. So, to fulfil the task of shuttle flights, Greenland Copter needed a pilot from Iceland.
To make the best use of time with today's flights, Air Greenland spoke with Icelandair yesterday, who were able to help by bringing the departure from Keflavik forward by one hour. Due to technical issues, the flight was delayed, but now Icelandair's Dash-8 aircraft FI 103 has landed in Kulusuk.
Therefore, Greenland Copter took off from Tasiilaq at 11.00 am to hand over the helicopter to them and thus the shuttle flight operation can resume.
Air Greenland DASH-8 GL 632 landed 11.40 a.m in Kulusuk. Photo: Jens Nymand, AFIS i Kulusuk.
Icelandair Dash-8 FI103 landed 11.51 a.m in Kulusuk. Greenland Copter waiting for the pilot Photo: Jesper Nymand, AFIS i Kulusuk
Waiting for the passengers
The "pick-up" of stranded customers begins and today our Dash8 aircraft landed in Kulusuk from Nuuk at 11.40am. There it is waiting for the passengers to be shuttled to Kulusuk before we take off at 16.40. Tomorrow, on Sunday, we will repeat the programme, adding a flight between Nuuk and Kulusuk, while Greenland Copter will fly a shuttle between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq and later follow up on the settlement flights.
The situation in East Greenland has shown us that where there is a will, there is a way. In addition to cooperating with Greenland Copter's helicopter being ready, it is also important to emphasise Mittarfeqarfiit, which takes care of the handling of aircraft and helicopters, the Danish Transport Authority for processing applications, and Icelandair, which accommodates the request for earlier departure. They and our technical department are to be thanked for enabling us to lift operation "shuttle" into the air.
By providing our followers with insight and sometimes lengthy explanations, we hope that our customers, and especially the customers affected, gain an insight into what it sometimes takes to fulfil the task.
As always, we can't do much about the weather, and the well-travelled customer in Greenland knows that. But in cases like these with technical challenges that may arise, a lot of measures are taken to solve them.
We apologise for the inconvenience the cancellations have caused our customers and thank you for your patience. Now we hope that the weather will be with us during the operation.
Shuttle is up and flying. Photo: Justus Hansen