Air Greenland to restart Nuuk—Iqaluit link in summer 2024

Passengers exit an Air Greenland Dash 8 after arrival at the Iqaluit airport from Nuuk last summer. This year's first flight of the year was cancelled, possibly due to lack of demand. (Daniel MacIsaac/CBC)
Passengers exit an Air Greenland Dash 8 after arrival at the Iqaluit airport from Nuuk in 2012. The route was cancelled two years later but will be relaunched in 2024. (Daniel MacIsaac/CBC)

Air Greenland announced this week that it will operate a weekly flight between Nuuk and Iqaluit starting in the summer of 2024.

“Our mission is to lift Greenland, and with the opening of the route to Iqaluit, we will greatly contribute to further opening up the country for cooperation with Inuit and neighbours to the west,” Air Greenland CEO Jacob Nitter Sorensen said in a statement.

Route to run June to October 

The route will be operational from June to October and will be served by a Dash-8 aircraft. The flight will depart from Nuuk to Iqaluit at 3:30 PM and arrive in Iqaluit two hours later.

“It will be our fifth international route after Keflavik, Kastrup, Billund, Aalborg and now Iqaluit,” Sørensen said.

The inaugural flight is scheduled for June 26, 2024, and will continue until October 23, 2024.

Sorensen said Air Greenland is open to maintaining the route past October if justified by demand.

“We know that there is a great desire for closer cooperation between Nunavut and Greenland and to ensure dialogue, it is natural to open a route to our neighbours to the west. We believe that this will create an even stronger basis for supporting the many business, political and cultural ties that already exist,”

Importance of increased Arctic links

The long-standing frustration of the population in both regions due to the inability to establish a financially viable air link between the two Arctic capitals is well-known.

Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. (Eilís Quinn / Eye on the Arctic)
Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. (Eilís Quinn / Eye on the Arctic)

The direct link is a two-hour flight, but without it, the journey can take up to two days. Canadian passengers often have to fly south to a major city, catch a flight to Europe, stay overnight in a city like Copenhagen, and then fly to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland the next day before again switching planes to reach Nuuk.

A regular air link was established in 2012 with expectations that increases in Arctic tourism and the resource sector would drive interest.

But the surge in demand never happened an the route was cancelled after the 2014 season.

The desire to visit each other in the Arctic region has increased since the last scheduled flight between the two capitals in 2014. We believe that the time and the local market are now right to resume the route”,   Sørensen said..

In 2022, Nunavut and Greenland signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to bolster connections spanning cultural, economic, and transportation.

Nuuk's Old Town.
Nuuk, Greenland. (Eilis Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

Air Greenland said in a statement this week that the announced route stems from the 2022 agreement.

“In it, the countries want to increase cooperation in the areas of culture, education, fisheries and green energy and, last but not least, to pave the way for better mobility,” Air Greenland said. “The latter is now becoming a reality.”

Ottawa connection to be offered by Canadian North

As part of the launch, Air Greenland will also partner with Canadian North to offer an Iqaluit-Ottawa leg.

Travellers will be able to buy the through tickets on both airlines’ websites.

“This initiative reflects our shared vision for fostering a rich cultural exchange among Canada, Nunavut, and Greenland, and we look forward to welcoming travellers to partake in this exchange, enriching their lives with the diverse and unique traditions of these captivating regions,” Canadian North’s Chairman of the Board Johnny Adams said. 

Comments, tips or story ideas? Contact Eilís at eilis.quinn(at) 

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canadian North teams up with university to tackle pilot shortage, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Record December passenger numbers for airports in Arctic Finland, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Air France launches flights to three destinations above the Arctic Circle, The Independent Barents Observe

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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