Atlantic Airways

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Atlantic Airways
Atlantic Airways logo.svg
2017-09-12 Atlantic Airways (Faroe Islands) Airbus A319 aircraft (OY-RCG) at Narsarsuaq, Greenland.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
HubsVágar Airport
Frequent-flyer programSúlubonus
Fleet size4
HeadquartersSørvágur, Faroe Islands
Key peopleJóhanna á Bergi (CEO)

Atlantic Airways (Nasdaq IcelandFO-AIR, Faroese: Atlantsflog) is the national airline of the Faroe Islands, operating domestic helicopter services and international passenger services as well as search and rescue responsibilities from its base at Vágar Airport, on the Faroese island of Vágar.[2] Most of its pilots are members of the Faroese Pilot Association.


Regular air links to the Faroes had been in operation since 1963, between the islands and Denmark. Although the airport at Vágar had been constructed by the British Army during World War II, air traffic to the islands was practically non-existent between the departure of the British and the start of services to Copenhagen. Calls for the creation of a Faroese airline company began in the early 1980s. Passenger numbers were steadily increasing and Danish carrier Maersk Air enjoyed the monopoly as the sole airline to serve the Faroe Islands.

Atlantic Airways Avro RJ aircraft at Vágar Airport

As a result, Atlantic Airways was established in 1987, initially between the Faroese government (51%) and Danish airline Cimber Air (49%), though the Faroese government would assume full ownership in 1989. Flights commenced between Vágar and Copenhagen on 28 March 1988 using a British Aerospace 146. A hangar was built at Vágar by the Faroese government in order to secure Atlantic Airways' home base in the Faroes, ensuring maintenance facilities were available on the islands.

The aim of the new airline company was to build up a Faroese aviation industry on a commercial basis and to ensure the Faroe Islands an air connection with the outside world. Flight crews and management were Faroese.

Though load factors were high and the new service was popular, Atlantic Airways had a turbulent beginning economically. The Faroe Islands suffered a severe economic depression in the early 1990s, and at its nadir in 1992, the Faroese government delivered 75 m DKK in aid to the struggling carrier. Atlantic Airways would not become profitable until 1995.

Avro RJ85 at Narsarsuaq Airport, Greenland

Flights were launched to Reykjavík in 1995 in co-operation with Air Iceland, and also to Narsarsuaq in Greenland in the summer months, in co-operation with Air Iceland. The latter half of the 1990s saw Billund in Denmark and Aberdeen in the UK added to Atlantic Airways' flight schedule.

The growing list of destinations and increasing passenger numbers, together with the stabilisation of the airline's finances, saw a second BAe 146 added to the fleet in 2000. This new aircraft meant services to London Stansted in England and the Norwegian capital Oslo added to the network. Growth in tourism on the islands has also enabled flights to Aalborg, Stavanger, Stord and Edinburgh. However, for the 2006 season services to Stord have been discontinued, and Edinburgh replaced by the Shetland Islands. Atlantic Airways also entered the UK domestic market in 2006, becoming the only carrier to offer a direct service between Shetland and London, which it did on a twice weekly basis. The UK domestic operation ceased in 2008.

Atlantic Airways also operates a domestic service by helicopter, in many instances a vital connection to many of the islands, which otherwise can only be reached by sea. The helicopter has proved a vital tool on the islands since the 1960s, when helicopters from Danish coast guard vessels patrolling the Faroes undertook a variety of tasks, including ferrying equipment and supplies between the islands. The government hired a helicopter in 1978 for these tasks, but in the 1980s a commercial public helicopter service was launched linking each of the islands using two Bell 222 helicopters.

Initially, the helicopter service was a standalone company, SL Helicopters, but the decision to concentrate Faroese aviation into one firm led to the helicopter department becoming part of Atlantic Airways in 1994. The helicopters provide a round trip 'hopper' service to each of the islands, which is also ideal for tourists looking for aerial views. The company is required to have at least one helicopter operational and ready for search and rescue duties.

Over the last 5 years,[when?] Atlantic Airways has produced profits of between 8 and 13 million DKK. The company has increased its turnover from 120 million in 1998 to 520 million DKK in 2006. Atlantic Airways employed 177 people at January 2007. Atlantic Airways was listed at the Iceland Stock Exchange on 10 December 2007.

The Faroese government has decided on a privatisation process and has sold off 33% of the company in the first bidding round. The first day of trading was 10 December 2007.

The government was planning to sell off 33% more in 2008, but this was cancelled due to the financial crisis.[3][4][5]

The first Airbus A319 for Atlantic Airways, registered OY-RCG, entered service in March 2012, with a modified livery. The runway at Vágar required an extension to properly accommodate this aircraft. The second and third Airbus 319s (OY-RCH and OY-RCI) entered service in May and October 2013 respectively. As the lease of these ran out by the end of 2016, only one was renewed while a brand new Airbus A320 was delivered.

On 3 June 2015, Jóhanna á Bergi became CEO of the company.[6] She is the first woman to become CEO of a Nordic airline.[7]

In December 2018, the airline submitted an application for commercial services to the United States.[8]

On 13 March 2020, Atlantic Airways announced the suspension of all routes until 13 April 2020 except the route to Copenhagen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[9]

Former US President Bill Clinton and former Atlantic Airways President Magni Arge at Vágar Airport, before flying to Copenhagen


International services[edit]

As of December 2019, Atlantic Airways serves the following scheduled destinations:[10]

Country City Airport Notes
 Denmark Aalborg Aalborg Airport Seasonal
Aarhus Aarhus Airport Terminated
Billund Billund Airport Base
Copenhagen Copenhagen Airport Base
 Faroe Islands Vágar Vágar Airport Base
 France Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
 Greenland Narsarsuaq Narsarsuaq Airport Terminated
 Iceland Reykjavík Keflavík International Airport
Reykjavík Reykjavík Airport Terminated
 Italy Milan Malpensa Airport Terminated
Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport Terminated
 Norway Bergen Bergen Airport, Flesland
Oslo Oslo Airport, Gardermoen
Stavanger Stavanger Airport, Sola Terminated
Trondheim Trondheim Airport, Værnes Terminated
 Portugal Lisbon Lisbon Airport Terminated
 Spain Barcelona Barcelona Airport Seasonal
Gran Canaria Gran Canaria Airport Seasonal
Mallorca Palma de Mallorca Airport Seasonal
 Sweden Stockholm Stockholm-Arlanda Airport Terminated
 United Kingdom Aberdeen Aberdeen Airport Terminated
Edinburgh Edinburgh Airport
London Gatwick Airport Terminated
London Stansted Airport Terminated
Sumburgh Sumburgh Airport Terminated

Charter operations[edit]

Atlantic Airways also operates charters for Danish tour operators to destinations such as Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, France, Scotland, Norway and the Czech Republic, out of Copenhagen Kastrup and Billund airports.

Domestic services[edit]

There is domestic helicopter service[11] to the islands. The helicopters depart from Vágar Airport on Sunday, Monday (only in June, July August), Wednesday, and Friday.

The flights visit the capital Tórshavn and second largest town Klaksvík, the southern islands Skúvoy, Stóra Dímun, Suðuroy (Froðba), the northern islands Svínoy and Fugloy (Hattarvík and Kirkja), the western island Mykines, and the island Koltur.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Atlantic Airways currently has codeshare agreements with Air France and KLM.[12]


As of August 2019, the Atlantic Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:[13]

Fixed-Wing Fleet[edit]

An Atlantic Airways Airbus A319 at Vágar Airport
Atlantic Airways Fixed-Wing Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Refs Notes
Airbus A320-200 1 174 [14]
Airbus A320neo 2 2 174 [15]
Total 3 2

Helicopter Fleet[edit]

An Atlantic Airways helicopter landing at Tórshavn helipad on its way to Klaksvik, Svínoy, and Kirkja

The AgustaWestland AW139 is the only primary helicopter used for flights to district villages. With a capacity to seat 15 passengers, the helicopter is used to shuttle passengers in the Faroe Islands.

Atlantic Airways Helicopter Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Passengers Routes Notes
AgustaWestland AW139 2 15 Domestic
Total 2

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 1989: an Atlantic Airways BAe 146–200 (registration OY-CRG) aircraft failed to stop at the end of the runway and was subsequently out of service for 3 weeks.
  • On the night 16–17 December 1992, a Bell 212 crashed in darkness and also because of bad visibility. Subsequently, all five people onboard died. This was one of the Atlantic Airways helicopters, this time on an ambulance flight.[17][18]
  • On 10 October 2006, Atlantic Airways Flight 670, a BAe 146–200, exactly the same aircraft as above, skidded off the runway at Stord Airport in Norway. Of the 12 passengers and 4 crew, 4 were killed and 12 survived with injuries. The aircraft had been chartered by Aker Kværner to fly personnel from Stavanger (Sola Airport) to Molde via Stord. The aircraft appears to have been unable to stop on the runway when its spoilers failed to extend during landing. The aircraft crossed the threshold and continued down a slope before coming to rest and catching fire.[19][20][21]


  1. ^ "IATA – Airline and Airport Search". Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  2. ^ Flight International, 27 March 2007
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Jóhanna á Bergi nýggjur stjóri í Atlantic Airways | Kringvarp Føroya". (in Faroese). 7 March 2014.
  7. ^ Baumgarten, Henrik (3 June 2015). "Kvinde i spidsen for Atlantic Airways | Stand By - Morgennyheder til rejse-, hotel- og turistbranchen". Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  8. ^ Nick Wenzel (15 December 2018). "Atlantic Airways applies for Faroe-US flights = International Flight Network".
  9. ^ "Flogferðslan munandi skerd". Kringvarp Føroya. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Routes". Atlantic Airways. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2019): 13.
  14. ^ "Atlantic Airways Fleet". Atlantic Airways Fleet (Press release).
  15. ^ "Atlantic Airways Fleet". Atlantic Airways Fleet (Press release).
  16. ^ Search and Rescue
  17. ^ ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 32486
  18. ^ "Rapport om Uddannelser og Udstyr indenfor det Færøske Præhospitalsberedskab" (PDF) (in Danish). Almanna- Heilsumálaráđiđ. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2020. I forbindelse hermed må der nævnes den tragiske helikopterulykke ved Klaksvík i 1992, hvor helikopterne efter en patienttrasnport til Landssygehuset styrter på en fjeldside i en snebye. (In connection with this, the tragic helicopter accident at Klaksvík in 1992 must be mentioned, where the helicopters crashed on a mountain side in a snowstorm after a patient transport to the National Hostital.)
  19. ^ Norway runway blaze kills three, BBC News, 10 October 2006.
  20. ^ Accident description of OY-CRG, Aviation Safety Network Database, 10 October 2006.
  21. ^ Preliminary accident report in Norwegian[dead link], PDF,; issued 25 October. 2007

External links[edit]

Media related to Atlantic Airways at Wikimedia Commons