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Not to be confused with Atlantic Airlines, a British airline.
Atlantic Airways
Founded 1987
Hubs Vágar Airport
Frequent flyer program EuroBonus
Fleet size 7
Destinations 7
Headquarters Faroe Islands Sørvágur, Faroe Islands
Key people
Magni Arge

Atlantic Airways (OMXFO-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.[1]



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 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 does on a twice weekly basis. The domestic operation in UK ended 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.

Another view of the above landing

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, 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 December 10, 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 December 10 2007.

The government was planning to sell off 33% more in 2008, but this was cancelled due to the financial crisis.[2][3][4]

Special guests on Atlantic Airways

In October 2007, Atlantic Airways picked up former United States President Bill Clinton at Keflavík Airport and flew him to Faroe Islands, where Mr. Clinton and Mr. Hans Blix were speakers at an event organised by Faroe Islands Industry. After the event, Atlantic Airways flew Mr. Clinton to Copenhagen.

In July 2009, Atlantic Airways arranged a PR-flight with Prince Albert of Monaco. He was on board a VIP flight with the new Augusta Westland helicopter.

Former US President Bill Clinton and Atlantic Airways President Magni Arge saying goodbye at Vagar Airport, before flying to Copenhagen

Route network



In summer 2009, Atlantic Airways will operate scheduled passenger flights between Vágar Airport and the following destinations.[5].[6]

Country City Airport Frequency Remarks
Denmark Denmark Aalborg Aalborg Airport 2x weekly
Billund Billund Airport 6x weekly Winter service 2x weekly
Copenhagen Copenhagen Airport Up to 5x daily
Iceland Iceland Reykjavík Reykjavík Airport 2x weekly
Norway Norway Bergen Flesland Airport 2x weekly
Stavanger Sola Airport 2x weekly
Greenland Greenland Narsarsuaq Narsarsuaq Airport 2x weekly
United Kingdom United Kingdom London London Stansted Airport 2x weekly

Charter operations

Atlantic Airways also operates flights for Air Iceland between Reykjavík Airport and Narsarsuaq (Narsarsuaq Airport), Greenland and also for SAS on flights between Copenhagen and London City and Copenhagen and Stavanger, since they grounded their Dash 8-400s. These services are usually flown with their RJ85s and 146-200s. Atlantic Airways signed contract with SAS to continue operations on behalf of SAS as ACMI charters out of Copenhagen to Stavanger, London City (England) and Birmingham (England).[7] 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[8] to the islands. The helicopters depart from Vágar Airport on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The flights visit Tórshavn and Klaksvík towns, southern islands Dímun, Froðba, Koltur, Skúvoy, and northern islands Hattarvík, Kirkja, Mykines and Svínoy.


Atlantic Airways fleet of seven BAe 146s at Vágar Airport

Th fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of Nov 2009)[9]

BAE 146

  • OY-RCA 146-200
  • OY-RCB 146-200
  • OY-RCC RJ-100
  • OY-RCD RJ-85
  • OY-RCE RJ-85

Bell 412 SAR

  • OY-HSR Bell 412 EP
  • OY-HSJ Bell 412 HP


  • OY-HSN AW139

Incidents and accidents

See main article: Atlantic Airways Flight 670

  • At 7:35 local time on October 10, 2006, a BAe 146-200A (registration OY-CRG, C/n / msn: E2075) skidded off the runway at Stord Airport, Norway. Of the twelve passengers and four crew, four were killed and twelve survived with injuries. The aircraft had been chartered by Aker Kværner to fly personnel from Stavanger (Sola Airport) to Molde (Molde Airport) 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.[10][11][12]

In 1989 a BAe 146-200A (registration OY-CRG, C/n / msn: E2075) ran off the runway of Vágar Airport. The aircraft was out of service for 3 weeks.

External links



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