Greenland closes its airports to (nearly) all passenger flights

By Rebecca Lougheed

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Greenland have closed (nearly) ALL their airports to international passenger flights.

Well, apart from ones that come from Denmark. But don’t go thinking you can make a quick stop off there first, they’ve even specified those are not allowed.

There is a provision for you to get special permission if you are transporting someone particularly important to the Greenland economy, but beyond that, no pax.

Here is the NOTAM:

BGGL SONDRESTROM FIR/FIC
A0621/20 – COVID-19: FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS.
ALL CIVIL FLIGHTS FROM OUTSIDE BGGL FIR, ARE BANNED FROM LANDING AT AERODROMES WITHIN BGGL FIR. FOLLOWING EXEMPTIONS APPLY:

1. FLIGHTS FROM AERODROMES IN DENMARK

1A. FLIGHTS ORIGINATING IN OTHER COUNTRIES THAN DENMARK, WITH INTERMEDIATE STOP IN DENMARK BEFORE CONTINUING TO GREENLAND, ARE NOT EXEMPTED FROM THE BAN.

2. FLIGHTS TO BGTL. SPECIAL PERMISSION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DANISH TRANSPORT-, HOUSING- AND CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORT OF PERSONS WITH PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE TO THE ECONOMY OF SOCIETY. FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT RESTRICTIONS AND PROCEDURE FOR THE APPLICATION FOR SPECIAL PERMISSION CAN BE OBTAINED VIA THE FOLLOWING LINK: HTTPS://TBST.DK/EN/CIVIL-AVIATION. THE FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS DO NOT IMPACT THE USE OF AERODROMES AS ETOPS ALTERNATE OR FOR EMERGENCIES.

Still confused? Fear not, the government have now published a full clarification of the rules here – in plain language (which we like very much).

Can I do a tech stop?

Yes! Ferry flights and tech stops (gas and go) can continue – but you’ll need to remain onboard.

Overnight tech stops are not allowed without special permission.

Can I pick up passengers in Greenland?

Yes! You are allowed to ferry an empty aircraft to collect passengers. You just can’t bring them in.

What about ETOPS? Polar Alternates?

Yes! These are still permitted at BGBW/Narsarsuaq and BGSF/Kangerlussuaq. But watch out for extra charges if filing one of these airports on your flight plan as an alternate.

BGTL/Thule is only open to emergency diverts – not as a planning alternate because it’s a military airfield which has no passenger facilities.

Who is this going to impact?

Mainly anyone who wants to bring in passengers for entry to Greenland. If you want to do it, you will need to apply for a special exemption at least 48 hours in advance. And you’ll need a really good excuse.

Greenland serves as an important spot for ETOPS aircraft, and for an en-route alternate for polar operations – to repeat, you can still use BGBW and BGSF as ETOPS alternates.

 

So far they think the rule will remain in place until the end of January next year. Given the current mutated mink situation Denmark have found themselves in, we don’t expect it to reopen sooner.

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Rebecca Lougheed

Rebecca Lougheed

I am an OpsGroup team member, an A380 pilot, and interested in all things flight ops.

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