Iqaluit-Nuuk flight takes off with small crowd of adventure travellers

By Jeff Pelletier, Nunatsiaq News - June 28, 2024
Seth Miller, left, of New Hampshire and Brian Bukowski of Toronto wait in Iqaluit’s airport among a small crowd of passengers to take in Air Greenland’s first Iqaluit-Nuuk flight in 10 years. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

While more than 200 people came to Iqaluit’s airport to celebrate the arrival of Air Greenland’s first direct flight between Nuuk and Nunavut’s capital in 10 years, at least seven passengers were there to fly.

Air Greenland announced the return of a direct Nuuk-Iqaluit route in October, after cancelling it in 2015 due to low ridership.

Passengers waiting to board the first flight of Air Greenland’s revival of the route had come from across the world to make the trip.

Seth Miller said he travelled from Dover, N.H., because he likes travelling on inaugural flights, and this trip was one he wanted to take as soon as it was announced.

“It’s always a little bit of a party, and with air travel being kind of a pain these days, having the opportunity to do the fun version of it sometimes is really exciting,” he said.

“We heard the comments earlier from the chairmen of the airlines and the dignitaries talking about bringing the cultures together, bringing the communities back together, those links and especially up here, it feels like that’s a very big deal.”

Travelling with Miller was his friend Brian Bukowski of Toronto, who booked tickets as soon as they became available.

Bukowski’s next destination, after visiting Nuuk for the first time, will be the Netherlands, where he is meeting up with his partner, then more Europe travel planned.

“I just like the idea of finding different and interesting ways of going over to Europe and seeing some really interesting places along the way,” he said, mentioning previous examples such as flying through the Faroe Islands and Saint Pierre and Miquelon as stopovers on the way to the European mainland.

Yannic Brodersen, a solo traveller from Germany, shared his excitement about flying on this route for the first time.

Johnny Flaherty and Sheila Flaherty serve Sanikiluaq blueberry gelato to passengers on Air Greenland’s first Iqaluit-Nuuk flight. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

He said he has already been to Greenland but would love to spend more time in Nunavut, especially Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay.

“It’s quite interesting for me to see if it all works out,” Brodersen said, speaking of the future of the new route.

Iqaluit chef Sheila Flaherty set up a table in the secure area and served Sanikiluaq blueberry gelato to the waiting passengers.

Although she was not on Wednesday’s flight, Flaherty said she’s looking forward to taking advantage of the new route at a future date.

“I’m just excited because of the possibility of working with chefs from Greenland and having collaborations,” she said.

“One time I participated in a chef event in Nuuk, and it took me four days for me to travel there and four days home for an eight day event,” Flaherty recalled. “Half of my time away from home was travelling through Europe.”

The flight from Iqaluit took off just after 5:30 p.m. local time and landed close to two hours later in Nuuk.

Despite being sold out, there were eight empty seats on the plane, which has a capacity of 37.

There was no fanfare upon the arrival at Nuuk’s new airport terminal, which partially opened earlier this month. Construction is still ongoing, and is expected to be completed later this year.

A single border agent greeted the international passengers, quickly scanning their passports with a cellphone.

Iqaluit-Nuuk flights are set to continue operating Wednesdays until Oct. 23.

Located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Nunatsiaq News is dedicated to covering affairs in Nunavut and the Nunavik territory of Quebec since 1973. It has been a partner to ArcticToday and its predecessors since 2016.