Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The aeroplanes that defied the fog

If you were in Nuuk last night, Monday 17 July, you could probably hear the sound of planes circling over the city in the late evening hours.

Three of our Dash-8 aircraft travelling from Kangerlussuaq had extra fuel added to attempt to land in Nuuk, which was shrouded in fog that settled in at 17:00. The three crews know that a "hole" can appear in the fog and when it does, it's important to be close by.


Kangerlussuaq was already full to bursting point and no accommodation was left. The cots in the hall were in use, but this is one of the last emergency solutions we have to use when there are no more rooms in the settlement. Therefore, it was important that we made one last attempt to get the passengers out and the aeroplanes back to their home base, the hangar in Nuuk


Here the aircraft are inspected and maintained. As we can see in one of the photos taken on 14 July, Nuuk is home to six of our eight Dash-8 aircraft, our ambulance aircraft and where our helicopters undergo major inspections. The aircraft were pulled out onto the runway and parked in a row due to a planned blast in connection with the construction of the new airport.

Many were watching


Whether it was the sound of aeroplanes hanging in the air that made many people click on the website Flightradar24.com last night is not known for sure.

But there are indications that many were anxious to see if they would be able to land.


At 22.11, it was Air Greenland's aircraft, GL561, GL416 and GL3259 that had the most followers on Flightradar24 worldwide.


Here you could clearly see that the aircraft one by one took turns circling in a specific flight pattern, shaped like a race track. When one aircraft then flew out of the pattern and out to Akia, another aircraft took over the flight pattern. 


Follow the airplanes heading to or from Nuuk via www.Flightradar24.com 


Mittarfeqarfiit, Greenland Airports, live broadcasts on Youtube, and also here a number of people were following the events. They chatted about landing conditions and how long the fuel lasted before they abandoned the attempt. As time went on, it wouldn't be long before the crews ran out of time and the rest time regulations would come into force.


The view from the camera facing the north side of the airport


Will they land


As the clock struck around 22.20, visibility improved and GL514 headed for the north side of the runway.

The aircraft's landing wheels went down, which led to a cheer in the cabin. But at the same time, it seemed that the passengers on board didn't quite believe in it. After all, they had been circling in the air for what must have felt like an eternity.


However, the discouragement was replaced by an even louder cheer and applause when the landing wheels touched the runway at 22.24.


The other two aircraft quickly followed and landed at 22.35 and 22.43 respectively.


With three of our aircraft and crews having braved the fog and landed safely at home base, our technicians were able to prepare them for Tuesday's traffic programme.


We have yet to see how it ends, but we can tell you that Air Greenland's employees are doing everything in their power to get customers to their destinations. And the customers who do not arrive due to weather conditions or unplanned maintenance, we do everything we can to ensure that they have a good stay under the difficult conditions that exist in some places at this time of year.


When we are hit by irregularity, a big puzzle starts with the creation of a new itinerary, looking at weather forecasts, hotel capacity, crews and which aircraft to allocate to which route. In short, it's a new jigsaw puzzle <3