Kangerlussuaq Airport

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Kangerlussuaq Airport
Mittarfik Kangerlussuaq
Kangerlussuaq Lufthavn
Kangerlussuaq Airport in 2010 (2).JPG
Airport type Public
Operator Greenland Airport Authority
Serves Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Location Kangerlussuaq, Qeqqata, Greenland
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 165 ft / 50 m
Coordinates 67°01′01″N 050°41′22″W / 67.01694°N 50.68944°W / 67.01694; -50.68944Coordinates: 67°01′01″N 050°41′22″W / 67.01694°N 50.68944°W / 67.01694; -50.68944
Website Kangerlussuaq Airport
BGSF is located in Greenland
Location in Greenland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,810 9,219 Asphalt
Statistics (2012)
Passengers 133,381
Aircraft movements 4,826
Source: Danish AIS[1]
Statistics from airport.[2]

Kangerlussuaq Airport (Greenlandic: Mittarfik Kangerlussuaq, Danish: Søndre Strømfjord Lufthavn) (IATA: SFJICAO: BGSF) is an airport in Kangerlussuaq, a settlement in the Qeqqata municipality in central-western Greenland. Alongside Narsarsuaq Airport, it is one of only two civilian airports in Greenland large enough to handle large airliners. It is located away from the coast and hence less prone to fog and wind in comparison with other airports in Greenland. Kangerlussuaq Airport is the international hub for Air Greenland. The Kangerlussuaq area has very few inhabitants, around 500, so few passengers have their origin or destination here. Most passengers change planes.


The first airport was built here during the US occupation in 1941 under the name of Bluie West-8, later renamed Sondrestromfjord Air Base and Sondrestrom Air Base.

In the 1950s, transatlantic civilian flights began using the air base for refuelling. This use fell off in the 1960s as airliners gained greater range, but the base became the hub of Greenland air traffic.

The airport was handed over to civilian Greenlandic control in 1992.


At a late 2011 Air Greenland meeting, plans to move the main Greenland intercontinental air hub away from Kangerlussuaq were agreed upon. According to the 2011 plan three 1,199-meter airstrips will be built; a new airport at Qaqortoq, and extensions at Nuuk, and Ilulissat. New airports will probably also be built at Tasiilaq and Ittoqqortoormiit later. These planned airstrips will be too short to host intercontinental flights, and a new 1,799-meter airstrip must be built before Kangerlussuaq can be closed. The main candidates for a new intercontinental airport are presently Nuuk and Qaqortoq. Alongside Kangerlussuaq, the airports at Narsarsuaq and Kulusuk (if Tasiilaq is built) will also be closed.[3] Generally, a number of the airstrips have been built by the US military at locations deliberately away from major settlements, partly due to the Danish policy to downplay the presence of the US military in Greenland. There is also a need to renovate the Kangerlussuaq runway for fairly high cost as the permafrost is melting under it.[4]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Air Greenland Aasiaat, Copenhagen, Ilulissat, Maniitsoq, Narsarsuaq, Nerlerit Inaat, Nuuk, Reykjavík-Domestic, Sisimiut
Air Greenland
operated by Danish Air Transport
Seasonal: Copenhagen
Air Greenland
operated by Jet Time
Seasonal: Copenhagen
Air Iceland Connect Seasonal: Ilulissat,[5][6] Reykjavík-Keflavík[7]
Scandinavian Airlines Charter: Copenhagen[8]

Access to several research camps on the Greenland ice sheet, including the Danish field camp North GRIP and the American Summit Camp, is handled through Kangerlussuaq via the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. There are also a few tourist charter flights between Germany and Kangerlussuaq every summer, in connection with cruise ship arrivals to the Kangerlussuaq seaport. Those flights have typically been operated by Air Greenland or airlines from Germany.[9] Other charter flights can appear, for example a number of flights from especially US and Canada landed in connection with the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk.

SAS operated flights to Greenland until March 2003, the route re-opened the spring of 2007 until January 2009.Boeing 767-383ER at Kangerlussuaq Airport (2001)
In May 1998 Greenlandair took the affair into its own hands to compete with its parent company SAS with their first jetliner Boeing 757–236
First Air Boeing 727-233/Adv(F) C-GXFA at Kangerlussuaq Airport
Greenlandair Beech 200 Super King Air OY-NUK taxiing at Kangerlussuaq Airport
Air Alpha Cessna 208B Grand Caravan OY-TPG at Kangerlussuaq Airport. Hired by Tele Post Greenland for mail and parcel distribution
Air Greenland Boeing 757–236 at Kangerlussuaq
Terminal at Kangerlussuaq Airport with two Dash-7s of Air Greenland in front


The flights from Copenhagen using the large aircraft is the main way of quick transport of goods and mail to Greenland. This includes fresh food. Because of the lack of a good port at Kangerlussuaq, most of it is transported by air to other destinations. Goods that don't need such quick transport are freighted by air to Nuuk and then by ship to other places in Greenland. A road to Sisimiut at the coast is planned with this freight in mind. In general there are worries about cost, and furthermore the uncertanty of the future of Kangerlussuaq makes it hard to decide upon a road or a port.


The terminal is open for 24 hours during summer. Hotel Kangerlussuaq, with a 70-room capacity and a restaurant, is located within the terminal building of the airport, providing accommodation for transferring passengers. Other amenities include a night-club and a self-service bar during daytime. Several tourism outfitters share an office in the terminal, alongside the Tourist Office. There are two other more simple accommodations in Kangerlussuaq.

Accidents and Incidents[edit]

Wreckage of a fighter
  • In 1961, a DHC-3 Otter, operated by Greenlandair, crashed at emergency landing in terrain near Kangerlussuaq, because of a fire on board. One crew member was killed. There were 2 crew and 4 passengers on board.[10]
  • In 1968, three US T-33 fighters crashed into a nearby mountain. All on board (one per plane) survived by parachute.
  • In 1976, a US air force C-141A cargo plane crashed, killing 23 of 27 passengers and crew on board.[11]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]