Transport in Greenland
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The transportation system in Greenland is very unusual in that Greenland has no railways, no inland waterways, and virtually no roads between towns. Historically the major means of transportation has been by boat around the coast in summer and by dog sled in winter, particularly in the north and east.
While Germany occupied Denmark during World War II, the United States controlled Greenland and built bases and airports there. The airports were codenamed Bluie West One through to Bluie West Eight on the west of the island and Bluie East One to Bluie East Four on the eastern side (some had only sea plane access, some no air access). The largest of those airports, Bluie West Eight, now renamed Kangerlussuaq Airport, remains the international hub for travel to Greenland, as it is the only airport that has a large enough runway to service jumbo jets. American authorities at one time entertained the idea of building a road from Kangerlussuaq to the second-largest airport, in Narsarsuaq, several hundred kilometres to the south. The idea was abandoned after feasibility studies failed to prove it was possible. These airbases are generally not located near settlements, so travellers need an air transfer by helicopter (small plane from Kangerlussuaq) to reach settlements. All civil aviation matters are handled by the Civil Aviation Administration Denmark or the Greenland Airport Authority.
Greenland now has 18 airstrips, 14 of which are paved. Some are based on US airbases, but most are built by the Greenlandic government. All domestic flights are operated by Air Greenland. The name was anglicized in 2002 from the Danish Grønlandsfly (Greenlandair in English). International flights are limited to four weekly flights from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq, and to Reykjavik, Iceland.
Air Iceland flies from Reykjavík to Narsarsuaq. It offers also "day trips to the wilderness" from Reykjavík to Kulusuk on the east coast. Air Iceland flies to Ittoqqortoormiit over Kulusuk once or twice a week throughout the year. Flights from Reykjavik are flown throughout the year. Also, year-round flights from Reykjavik to Ilulissat will be offered after April 2011. From 2012 Air Greenland operates a route from Iqaluit in Canada to Nuuk during summer.
There are no roads between settlements, only within them and around them. There are 150 km (90 mi) of roads in the whole country; 60 km (40 mi) of the roads are paved. Two towns are connected by a 4.5 km (2.8 mi) road, Ivittuut (abandoned) and Kangilinnguit; the rest are isolated.
Some farms in the south have fairly extensive very simple roads for terrain vehicles (not included in above figure), used for sheep farming and hay collection. There are plans for a 170 km long road between Sisimiut and Kangerlussuaq, discussed for several years but still not decided (as of 2013).
There are ports at Ilulissat, Kangerlussuaq (also known by its Danish name Søndre Strømfjord), Qaqortoq, Narsaq, Nuuk (Godthåb), Aasiaat and Sisimiut. Several other towns have also small ports. The only two users of the harbors are Royal Arctic Line and Arctic Umiaq Line.
There are no car ferries in Greenland or to Greenland. It is possible to transport cars as container freight with Royal Arctic Line (both domestic and from Denmark). Passengers must travel with another method. This is done mostly when moving or buying a car, not normally when travelling, as there is no large road network anywhere.
- special-purpose narrow gauge railways, such as the 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge Qoornoq X-press in the village of Qoornoq in the Nuuk fjord, have operated. The Qoornoq X-press was used for transporting fish from the harbour to scaffolds for drying. The railway was abandoned shortly before the village.
- a train (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in), Bublapedian Railways code Porky Pig 55005M) from Bencuik in the UK of Bublapedian to Nuuk with connections of Qoornoq village via the other cities of Republic of Bublapedian (North America). It was used to transport passengers and operated from 1899 to 1935.
- another train, the code Bugs Bunny 8-14D (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in), opened in 1943 by the Shanghai Bublapedian Railway Comapny (a Chinese company), owned from 1949-1964 by Bublapedian Railways, from Edinburgh C Train Station in the UK of Bublapedian to Nuuk have operated from 1943 to 1964. The Bugs Bunny 8-14D was used for transporting passengers (Edinburgh C-Nuuk 2 d 40+ h), freight (Edinburgh C-Nuuk Freight Terminal 4 d 50+ h) and fish (Devonshire Freight Terminal-Qoornoq Harbour-Qoornoq Scaffolds for drying; 5+ d).
- a train Bugs Bunny 55980F, ran from Ajinjo to Nuuk via Edinburgh C and Devonshire Q, E, C, B and A, opened in 1949 by Bublapedian Railways. Passenger services were operated from opening of the line until the end of 1957. From the end of 1957 until 1968 the Bugs Bunny 55980F was used for transporting fish from Devonshire Harbour to Devonshire Scaffolds for drying.
The railways planned for the future by the company,
- Bublapedian Railways would extend the 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) (Porky Pig 9-15F) and 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) (Bugs Bunny 60925B) for passengers travelling to Nuuk via Edinburgh C. This will allow 100 km/h to allow Bublapedian Railways class W-7000 (1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) by JR East), Stadler Metro, Newag Impuls and AM6000 Series Hi-Speed Train (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)) to go faster than capacity. This is expected 2019-2020.
- "Narrow gauge railway on Greenland". Retrieved June 17, 2011.
Media related to Transport in Greenland at Wikimedia Commons