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|Headquarters||Sørvágur, Faroe Islands|
|Key people||Jóhanna á Bergi (CEO)|
Atlantic Airways (Nasdaq Iceland: FO-AIR) 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. 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.
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 BAe 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 ailing carrier. Atlantic Airways would not become profitable until 1995.
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 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 the UK 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 Helicopter Textron aircraft.
Initially, the helicopter service was a standalone company, SL Helicopters, but the decision to concentrate Faroese aviation into one firm led 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 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.
In 2016, Atlantic Airways will operate scheduled passenger flights between Vágar Airport and the following destinations:
|Seasonal / Charter|
Atlantic Airways also operates charters for Danish tour operators to destinations such as Italy, Croatia, France, Scotland, Norway and the Czech republic, out of Copenhagen Kastrup and Billund airports.
There is domestic helicopter service to the islands. The helicopters depart from Vágar Airport on Sunday, Monday (only in June, July August), Wednesday and Friday.
The flights visit Tórshavn and Klaksvík towns, the island Koltur, the southern islands Skúvoy, Dímun, Froðba (in Suðuroy), and the northern islands Hattarvík (on Fugloy), Kirkja on Fugloy, Mykines and Svínoy.
The fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of January 2016):
Accidents and incidents
- 1989: an Atlantic Airways BAe 146–200 (registration OY-CRG, C/n / msn: E2075) aircraft failed to stop at the end of the runway and was subsequently out of service for 3 weeks.
- On 10 October 2006, Atlantic Airways Flight 670, a BAe 146–200, 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.
- "IATA – Airline and Airport Search". iata.org. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
- Flight International, 27 March 2007
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- [dead link]
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- "Jóhanna á Bergi nýggjur stjóri í Atlantic Airways | Kringvarp Føroya". Kvf.fo (in (Faroese)). 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
- Baumgarten, Henrik. "Kvinde i spidsen for Atlantic Airways | Stand By - Morgennyheder til rejse-, hotel- og turistbranchen". Standby.dk. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
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- Norway runway blaze kills three, BBC News, 10 October 2006.
- Accident description of OY-CRG, Aviation Safety Network Database, 10 October 2006.
- Preliminary accident report in Norwegian, PDF, Aibn.no; issued 25 October. 2007
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atlantic Airways.|
- Official website
- "Faroe Island-based Atlantic Airways has excelled in mastering unaccommodating operational challenges". Centre for Aviation. 28 September 2012. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013.