The most recent installment of Executive Spotlight showed what it takes to run an airline in the middle of a war, and this time we are literally traveling to the edge of the world, to learn how an airline can thrive in one of the planet’s most unforgiving environments.
Air Greenland is the national carrier of the world’s second largest island (after Australia), a huge territory which, despite its name, is mostly, permanently covered in ice.
It’s not just that the weather conditions are extreme for most of the year. Air Greenland needs to provide basic services to a population of under 60,000 scattered over a landmass that, if it was overlaid onto a map of mainland Europe, would stretch all the way from Norway to North Africa.
To do this, Air Greenland relies on what is one of the most eclectic fleets operated by a flag carrier anywhere in the world, including a rather rare type of long-haul, wide-body aircraft, a fleet of regional turboprops, some helicopters – and soon, perhaps eVTOLs too.
AeroTime has spoken with Jacob Nitter Sørensen, CEO of Air Greenland, in order to learn more about this unique airline and the essential role it plays in the economy of this autonomous Danish territory.
A unique operational profile
Our conversation with Nitter Sørensen started with us talking, inevitably, about the large diversity of aircraft types Air Greenland operates and the different roles they fulfill, in a community that is totally dependent on air travel to be able to function normally.
Nitter Sørensen said: “The low-cost carriers always say you need to keep a single-type fleet, but we operate with a different model. Why do we do that? It is due to the geography, the environment and the demographics we serve. We are the bus service, the train service, the ambulance service, the mail service… we provide most of the infrastructure necessary to keep the country going. In order to fulfill all these tasks, you need…