Greenland is betting that airport renewal and growth initiatives in its two key industrial and tourism hubs will gas extra visitation, together with from the US
“Greenland is true in between the US and Europe, similar to Iceland is,” mentioned Go to Greenland spokeswoman Tanny Por. “There may be potential there for extra site visitors. … The US is a spotlight for us.”
The airport in Greenland’s capital of Nuuk is getting an extended runway in addition to a brand new terminal. In Ilulissat, the island’s largest leisure tourism middle, the terminal and airfield are being relocated and constructed anew. Each initiatives are slated for completion in late 2024.
Particularly key to the initiatives are the expanded runways. Presently, quick runways forestall the Nuuk and Ilulissat airports from dealing with mainline single-aisle plane and widebody planes. Consequently, industrial air service into the 2 communities is obtainable solely with small, regional plane.
Worldwide vacationers typically hook up with these cities by way of the airport at Kangerlussuaq, a retired US army base that has a runway lengthy sufficient to deal with massive plane. Air Greenland at the moment flies to Kangerlussuaq from Copenhagen utilizing an Airbus A330-200.
The one technique to entry Nuuk by way of industrial plane from outdoors Greenland is on Air Greenland or Icelandair Bombardier regional propeller planes from Reykjavik. Icelandair additionally provided summer time seasonal prop-plane service from Reykjavik to Ilulissat this yr.
The airport initiatives are geared towards altering that state of affairs by means of the development of 1.4-mile runways, practically triple the size of the present runways in Nuuk and Ilulissat. The brand new terminal in Nuuk will be capable to deal with 800 flyers per hour; Ilulissat’s may have hourly capability of 600.
Already, Air Greenland has plans to fly to the 2 airports from Copenhagen utilizing the lone A330neo that it’s going to quickly obtain, mentioned Milan Lund Vraa, enterprise developer for Kalaallit Airports Holding, the builder of the brand new services.
Hopes are that Icelandair may even put bigger plans into Nuuk and Ilulissat. And extra bold targets embody further European service in addition to flights from Canada and finally even New York.
“We do not anticipate there shall be a direct flight from the US to begin out with,” Vraa mentioned. “Within the long-term, we hope to have a US flight.”
Elevated air entry will profit cruise operators
In response to Go to Greenland’s Por, the nation at the moment enjoys roughly 100,000 guests yearly. Of these, 55,000 enter by way of air and the remaining 45,000 by sea, totally on expedition cruises. American guests comprise roughly 6% of arriving air passengers, Vraa mentioned.
Per mentioned that in a market as small as Greenland, the addition of simply two new flights per week may considerably improve the annual vacationer rely.
Improved air entry to Nuuk and Ilulissat can be anticipated to be a boon to cruise operators. Each cities provide extra accessible harbors than Kangerlussuaq, to which cruise ships should navigate roughly 95 miles by means of a fjord after which anchor offshore moderately than dock. Scenic, for instance, transports passengers to its ship by way of tenders, whereas a barge is used for baggage and provides, mentioned Claudius Docekal, Scenic’s vice chairman of ocean product.
Humpback Icefjord close to the city of Ilulissat. Picture Credit score: Luke Stackpool/Go to Greenland
Expedition operators say they’re enthusiastic concerning the airport initiatives.
“The continued growth of air providers in Nuuk and Ilulissat will create extra choices for itinerary growth within the area,” mentioned Vanessa Picariello, vice chairman of brand name for Lindblad Expeditions, whose three Greenland itineraries both begin, end or begin and end at Kangerlussuaq. “And a rise of worldwide flights will present extra choices for our visitors and create additional attraction for Greenland as a vacation spot.”
Hurtigruten has a resort mission in Greenland
Hurtigruten, in the meantime, at the moment gives 4 Greenland itineraries, all of which embark and disembark in Reykjavik. However the firm has plans to extend its Nuuk footprint with the event of a resort. Not too long ago, Hurtigruten started check drilling on the proposed resort web site, mentioned spokeswoman Anne Solsvik. She declined to offer particulars on the mission, however a tourism technique doc offered by Go to Greenland says it’s slated for 150 rooms.
“Greenland is a crucial vacation spot for us and an actual bucket-list [destination] for a lot of sooner or later,” Solsvik mentioned. “We wish to be concerned within the growth the airport can contribute to, nevertheless it should be finished in a sustainable method and with regard to the native atmosphere and communities.”
As famous that in Greenland, which is very susceptible to local weather change, sustainability shall be on the core of all tourism growth. She mentioned Go to Greenland is courting what it considers “accountable vacationers” along with the rising luxurious market.
“We would like journey vacationers as a result of they do give again to the group extra,” she mentioned. “They’re accountable vacationers: those who respect tradition and nature, those who’re interested in Greenland.”