Greenland airports looking local for new air-traffic controllers

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An Air Greenland Bell 212 helicopter at Ilulissat Airport in July 2015. (Mittarfeqarfiit, Greenland Airports)
An Air Greenland Bell 212 helicopter at Ilulissat Airport in July 2015. (Mittarfeqarfiit, Greenland Airports)

A planned overhaul of Greenland’s airport infrastructure aimed at increasing the volume of international traffic flying to the country will create an increasing need for air-traffic controllers.

In order to fill the gap, Mittarfeqarfiit, the national airport authority, has announced a training program to begin next year that it expects will result in more Greenlanders filling jobs currently held by foreigners.

Since 2014, all of Greenland’s air-traffic controllers have been based at a single facility in Nuuk, and hail from Denmark, Sweden and Iceland.

Smaller airports, where there is less traffic, are staffed by local flight-information service officers. These employees will be first in line for the training program. Those enrolled in the program could be getting a career upgrade as early as next year, according Niels Grosen, the acting head of Mittarfeqarfiit.

Grosen confirmed that the point of the programme was to ensure that the new positions created by the airport expansions could be filled by local employees.

Isavia, which operates Iceland’s airports, will provide training in Greenland and in Iceland.

Mittarfeqarfiit expects that it will continuously offer the training programme in order to ensure there is an adequate pool of local employees.