|Operator||Civil Aviation Administration|
|Location||Sørvágur, Faroe Islands|
|Hub for||Atlantic Airways|
|Elevation AMSL||280 ft / 85 m|
|Statistics (2018 )|
Vágar Airport (Faroese: Vága Floghavn) (IATA: FAE, ICAO: EKVG) is the only airport in the Faroe Islands, and is located 1 NM (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) east of the village of Sørvágur, on the island of Vágar. Due to the Faroe Islands' status as a self-governing territory, the airport is not subject to the rules of the European Union. It is the main operating base for Faroese national airline Atlantic Airways and, for a brief period during 2006, was also the base for the low-cost airline FaroeJet.
The airport was built by British Royal Engineers during World War II on the island of Vágar. The site was chosen mainly because it was hard to see from the surrounding waters and any potential German warship. The first aeroplane landed here in Autumn 1942. (See British occupation of the Faroe Islands in World War II). British engineers had similarly first built Reykjavík Airport in Iceland in 1940, then known as RAF Reykjavik, following the British Occupation of Iceland.
After the war, Vágar airfield was abandoned and left unused until 1963, when it was reopened as a civilian airport at the initiative of two Sørvágur residents, Hugo Fjørðoy and Lars Larsen. The two worked with the Icelandic airline Icelandair, which began the scheduled flights to Bergen, Copenhagen and Glasgow using a Douglas DC-3 aircraft. In 1964 a separate airline, Faroe Airways, operated flights, first using chartered aircraft but in 1965 they bought a DC-3 from the Swedish airline Linjeflyg. The company ceased operating on 28 September 1967. In 1971, Icelandair was operating Boeing 727-100 jetliners into the airport with weekly nonstop service to Glasgow and Reykjavik. In 1988, Atlantic Airways was flying British Aerospace BAe 146-200 jet service nonstop to Copenhagen. Until 2004 Maersk Air also operated flights into the airport. Maersk Air flew Boeing 737-500 jetliners into the airport with service to Copenhagen.
Development since the 2000s
Until 2002 travel from the airport to most locations in the Faroe Islands including the capital Tórshavn required a car ferry, but since the Vágatunnilin, a tolled road tunnel, was opened, travel has been made much easier by giving direct road access to the neighbouring island of Streymoy, where Tórshavn is located.
A new airport terminal opened on 17 June 2014 with increased passenger capacity.
The runway was extended from 1,250 m (4,100 ft) to 1,799 m (5,902 ft) in 2011, allowing a greater variety of aircraft types to be used, and further-away destinations to be introduced. Construction work started in May 2010, and on 3 December 2011, the extended runway was opened and put into use for the first time. Previously, jet aircraft with short airfield performance such as the British Aerospace BAe 146 (which ceased to be produced 2001) were preferred for use into the airport (although Maersk Air operated flights with Boeing 737-500 aircraft), and then the most distant destination was Copenhagen, 1,300 km (810 mi). The Airbus A319 of Atlantic Airways is able to utilise the extended runway, and services with this type with Atlantic Airways began in March 2012. Tourist summer flights to Barcelona and Milan were introduced. However, in 2014 they decided to stop the routes to Milan and to London. Instead, they chose to fly to Mallorca and to Aberdeen, later changed to Edinburgh, and in 2017 to Gran Canaria.
On 26 March 2016, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) began to fly from Copenhagen to Vágar, the first airline other than Atlantic to do so in many years. SAS has had trouble with fog landings which caused cancellations. But in February 2019 SAS started using the Required Navigation Performance procedure, which allows landings in more fog, but requires special onboard equipment, pilot training and approval from the aviation administration. Atlantic Airways began using the system in 2012 as first airline in Europe.
Airlines and destinations
The airlines in the table below offer regular passenger scheduled and seasonal flights at Vágar Airport.
|Atlantic Airways||Billund, Copenhagen, Oslo, Reykjavík–Keflavík|
Seasonal: Edinburgh, Gran Canaria
|Atlantic Airways Helicopter||Dímun, Froðba, Hattarvík, Kirkja, Klaksvík, Koltur, Mykines, Skúvoy, Svínoy, Tórshavn|
There are occasional public charter flights operated by major European airlines, e.g. Wizzair and Austrian Airlines, for example for supporters to football qualification matches. There are also fairly frequent corporate charter flights (seats not available to public) done by e.g. Widerøe. The extended runway and better instrument landing system has made it easier for airlines other than Atlantic Airways to land at Vágar.
There are bus services about 10 times each direction per day between the airport and Tórshavn. They take one hour. The road distance to Tórshavn is 47 km (29 mi). The "Vágatunnilin" tunnel (4.9 km (3.0 mi)) connects the airport and the Vágar island to the main towns and villages in the Faroe Islands.
Accidents and incidents
- 26 September 1970: a Fokker F27 Friendship, with registration TF-FIL, from Flugfélag Íslands on flight from Bergen to Vágar Airport, crashed in bad weather on Mykines. The captain and 7 passengers, all seated on the left side of the plane, were killed. 26 passengers and crew survived, some with serious injuries. Three passengers hiked for an hour to reach Mykines village to alert the authorities. Most of the villagers went up the mountain to aid the survivors before the arrival of the Danish patrol vessel F348 Hvidbjørnen. A marble memorial was placed in the church.
- 25 January 1975: a Fokker F27 aircraft registered as OY-APB attempted to land on a wet and icy runway. Without having been informed of the conditions, the pilots veered the aircraft off the runway and collided with terrain.
- 3 August 1996: a Gulfstream III of the Danish Air Force crashed during final approach to Vágar Airport in bad weather and poor visibility. Nine people, including the Chief of Defence Jørgen Garde and his wife, perished as the aircraft collided with high terrain surrounding the airport.
- "Ársfrásøgn 2013". Vága Floghavn. Retrieved 18 June 2014.[permanent dead link]
- Faroe Islands AIP for EKVG – Vágar Airport from Naviair
- "Faroe Airways - Gyldendal - Den Store Danske".
- http://www.timetableimages.com, April 1, 1971 Icelandair system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, May 30, 1988 Atlantic Airways system timetable
- http://www.airliners.net, photo of Maersk Air Boeing 737-500 at Vagar Airport
- October 1993 Official Airline Guide (OAG) Worldwide edition, Faroe Islands flight schedules
- "News - FAE - Vága Floghavn". Archived from the original on 20 February 2015.
- "A 1.799 m. long runway and terminal for a total of DKK. 412". October 2009. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
- "Celebrating the extended runway". Archived from the original on 24 May 2012.
- Atlantic Airways A319 enters service Archived 19 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, 28 March. 2012
- "Atlantic.fo - Flúgv til Mallorca í summar 2015". Archived from the original on 20 January 2015.
- "Stormomsust atlanterhavsø lokker endnu et flyselskab til". Politiken. 11 October 2016.
- "SAS får endelig godkendelse til at flyve til Færøerne i tåge". Politiken. 20 December 2018.
- Shepherd, Lesley (30 March 2012). "Atlantic Airways Airbus A319 First in Europe to Use RNP". www.atc-network.com.
- "L 210: Nedbringelse af fondens egenkapital til dækning af omkostninger til bortskaffelse af sprængstof ved Vágar Lufthavn".
- "Statens Luftfartsvæsen: Færøerne overtager Vagar Lufthavn". Archived from the original on 30 May 2012.
- "Records being broken on the Faroe Islands". Vága Floghavn.
- "Continued growth at Faroe Islands airport (2)". Vága Floghavn.
- Tiirikainen, Morten Lund (30 June 2014). "Næppe udsigt til konkurrence på Færøerne".
- "Sex Íslendingar meðal 34 um borð". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 27 September 1970. p. 1. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
- "Átta létust í flugslysinu í Færeyjum". Tíminn (in Icelandic). 29 September 1970. pp. 1, 3. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
- Ellemose: 57
- "Saturday 25 January 1975". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
Media related to Vágar Airport at Wikimedia Commons