2012 was the busiest year ever in the history of the Faroe Islands Airport, Vagar. 225.532 passengers passed through the terminal on the Faroe Islands, the highest total in the history of the airport. The figure was some 10.8 per cent higher than for 2011.
With its runway significantly extended, Vagar Airport enters within direct reach of more foreign airports than ever – a likely game changer that could usher in a new level of connectivity between the Faroe Islands and the rest of the world.
The investment seems to have paid off as 2012 was the busiest year ever in the history of the Faroe Islands Airport, figures released show. The figure was some 10.8 per cent higher than for 2011.
Until now 2013 is also looking promising. So far 2013 has seen a rise of 10.1 per cent, or some 3.900 passengers, compared with the same period in 2012. Comparing the same period ten years ago, the airport has seen a remarkable 30 per cent growth, equivalent to three per cent a year.
The Faroese Government has invested in extending the current runway from 1,250 metres to 1,799 meters and the work was completed in December 2011. There has also been investments in new instruments aimed at improving regularity, with the last of these commissioned in August 2012. In addition, the Government is investing in a new airport terminal, expected to be completed in May 2014.
"We want to work closely with the Faroese operators and other operators that are interested in the Faroese inbound and outbound market - a growing high yield market in the North Atlantic," said Jákup Sverri Kass, CEO at Vagar Airport.
"Air transport is the main Faroese freeway to Europe and we want to help promote traffic onto that freeway. The investment in a longer runway and new instruments has made the Faroe Islands more accessible to both smaller and larger aircraft and has improved regularity. Atlantic Airways has already made a success out of its investment in a new Airbus 319," he added.
"Furthermore, Vagar Airport wants to become more active in partnership with others wishing to promote traffic between the Faroe Islands and Europe. Atlantic Airways has been given a discount in passenger fees for a limited period aimed at raising the passenger numbers, as well incentive discounts when launching new routes," says the CEO.
The latest routes opened by Atlantic Airways out of the Faroe Islands are two seasonal operations to Barcelona and Milano.
"Vagar Airport wants to promote traffic between the Faroe Islands and the rest of the world - and we welcome inquires form anyone considering an aviation venture that might include the Faroe Islands. We are willing to look at any business case and welcome approaches from all that might be interested starting up any kind of route between the Faroe Islands and Europe" said Jákup Sverri Kass, CEO at Vagar Airport.
As a consequence of the longer runway, it could also strengthen the current positive trend in tourism. "Our status as a relatively remote island community will hardly change; but we can make it easier for people to opt for the Faroe Islands. "They can always go and see that European castle or lakeside, whereas the Faroe Islands will be very different. We've already made promising inroads into foreign markets as a destination that can offer once-in-a-life-time experiences in the wild, only a moment away from your hotel or conference venue," says the CEO
A few years ago a panel of experts with National Geographic Traveler ranked the Faroe Islands as the world's most appealing island destination. "Lovely unspoiled islands - a delight to the traveler," they wrote.
In the last few years Faroese operators have worked on developing the Faroe Islands as a destination for conferences and team building activities. Some of their clients have been given the full treatment with outdoors adventures that involved helicopter rides, waterskiing, speed boat riding around bird cliffs and grottoes, and more.