Air Greenland is bringing an AS350 B+ into service, customised with its brand and livery, and is taking steps to boost its charter operations to combat the global economic downturn. Christian Keldsen, director sales and marketing, says: "We have been expanding our charter fleet over the past couple of years as the demand here has been related to exploration, oiling and mining in Greenland."
Despite the world recession, Air Greenland expects its home market to be more or less stable, although it anticipates a drop in the country's incoming tourism. Keldsen says: "Charter activities will most likely decline late 2009/early 2010 as a result of the low crude oil prices and the worldwide recession. The need to look for metals and minerals usually declines during downturns, partly due to a fall in building activities and the scarcity
However Keldsen adds: "We are looking into doing more charter on our jet fleet operating out of Copenhagen. Also we are investing heavily in tourism within Greenland in order to grow this segment for the benefit of traffic on our flights."
The company selects aircraft that are suited to the Greenlandic conditions and the available facilities which feature many short runways and a variety of heliports.
"The fleet of turboprops is getting older and it is difficult to get spare parts," Keldsen says. "To date the AS350 B+ is still among the best suited mix of aircraft for our conditions."
The company operates 12 AS350 B3s, six Bell 212s, three Bell 222s, two Sikorsky S-61Ns, two DHC6 Twin Otters, a King Air B200, an A330-200, a Boeing 757-200 and six DHC7s.
Air Greenland orders both new and pre-owned. Keldsen says: "Currently the mix is definitely in favour of pre-owned aircraft. Only with the DHC7, which, subject to Board approval may be replaced by a DHC8-100/200, Beechcraft and AS350 fleet have we acquired new aircraft. All the others were preowned."
The company, which provides scheduled as well as charter services, is taking on staff. "We have vacancies and we do recruit an international staff of people," Keldsen says.
The company, formed in 1960, boasts a ceo, Michael Binzer, who has participated in the Winter Olympics three times in the cross country skiing event.
The AS350 B+ is featured in this month's Me and My Aircraft Series which starts on Page 10. July's EBAN will focus on small jets.