Challenging Weather Forces Air Greenland To Halt Ticket Sales

Air Greenland has taken the drastic decision to close ticket sales to and from Greenland’s west coast until the end of July. The region is facing severe weather disruptions to its services, particularly from low clouds and fog on the west coast. However, ticket sales from Nerleriit Inaat on the east coast are not affected.

Focus is on the stranded passengers, not ticket sales

In a July 11 statement on its website, Air Greenland said there are “almost 1,000 stranded passengers around the country who should have left during [last] weekend.” It said that due to the low cloud and fog along the coast, especially in Greenland’s capital city of Nuuk, it has only been possible to operate flights later in the day, creating a backlog of passengers and cargo.

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Air Greenland has a fleet of eight DHC-8s that have been severely impacted by fog and bad weather. Photo: Air Greenland

Air Greenland CEO Jacob Nitter Sørensen said: “Air Greenland is vulnerable at this time. We do not provide the service we have set out for, and we must therefore resort to closing the sales. This way, we can utilize the remaining capacity when delays occur. The fog and low clouds tease us so much that today’s planned programs are postponed, and when it happens several days in a row, we get a large accumulation of passengers.”

Air Greenland has a fleet of eight aircraft, which ch-aviation.com data lists as one Airbus A330-200, one De Havilland DHC-8-200 and six DHC-8-Q200s. It has one Airbus A330-800neo on order. Sørensen says that most of the planes that will fly the passengers along the coast are based in Nuuk, while a single plane is based in Ilulissat, where dense fog has also impacted operations. He adds:

“The planes must be able to get home to the base to ensure their maintenance and when the weather forecasts they cannot it affects the running of the traffic program. The traffic challenges in Europe also mean that it is very difficult to find available capacity for rental on the Atlantic route.”

Air Greenland has ordered an Airbus A330-800neo to replace its existing A330-200. Photo: Airbus

Leasing in SAS capacity is not possible now

In the past, when Air Greenland has come under schedule pressure, it has leased capacity from SAS Scandinavian, but Sørensen says the SAS strike makes that an extremely limited possibility. Air Greenland is arranging accommodation and meal vouchers for those stranded, although it says minimal accommodation is available. The statement says that Air Greenland will inform [customers] via the website and social media when there is an extensive irregularity and that passengers who need a new itinerary will receive one when it’s completed.

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In an update on Friday, the airline said: “We are hoping to be finished by the end of the weekend getting all affected passengers to their destinations. Our backup plane is unfortunately out due to technical issues, and we therefore have no extra available airplanes at the moment. We are working hard to get it ready as soon as possible.”

It also prepared a new weekend schedule for passengers in South Greenland and said it had rented boats to and from Narsarsuaq, the location of Greenland’s second airport. The statement also reiterated that Air Greenland would provide the delayed passengers with accommodation and meal vouchers and that they should contact their local airport/heliport for further information. It would be great to hear from any readers in Greenland to get some feedback and see if services are back to normal yet?

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