Atlantic Airways Receives First Airbus A320neo

Faroe Islands based carrier, Atlantic Airways, is celebrating the delivery of their first A320neo today. Leased from Air Lease, it’s the first of three to be delivered to the Vagar based carrier, and will allow it to explore new routes and opportunities, including to the US!

Atlantic Airways A319
The Faroe Islands just got a new plane. Photo: Atlantic Airways

Operating out of the Faroese island of Vagar, Atlantic Airways not only provides passengers services but also domestic helicopter transport and search and rescue services. This is the first of three of the aircraft type due to arrive with Atlantic Airways and will allow them to launch services into the US later in the year.

The first of three A320neos

This first A320neo for Atlantic Airways is number one of three, with the second two ordered during the recent Paris Air Show. They are powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines and are configured in an all-economy layout.

Atlantic Airways A320neo
The first A320neo has arrived at Atlantic Airways. Photo: Airbus

The addition of these planes will serve to double the fleet at Atlantic Airways, who currently operated one A320ceo and two A319ceos. The all-economy layout will offer 174 seats, and the better fuel efficiency of the neo aircraft will enable the carrier to expand and develop its current route offerings.

Atlantic Airways has some grand designs for the future, having applied for commercial service rights to the US. They have indicated that they intend to run a service to the New York City area, which was due to begin in late summer this year. However, with the delivery of the A320neo being several months later than anticipated, it may be the autumn before we see this flight launched.

Atlantic Airways A320
The airline had just three planes before the arrival of the A320neo. Photo: Atlantic Airways

Aside of the US market, the carrier also operates a relatively large network to destinations in Europe. These include business centers including Lisbon and Edinburgh, as well as leisure destinations such as Gran Canaria in Spain and Chambery in France.

Could a stopover be on the cards?

With its unique position at the east of the Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands and Iceland have a fair bit in common. With a bit of work and a generous stopover clause in their ticketing, Atlantic Airways could be successful in developing the archipelago as a new place to go on your way somewhere else.

Passengers traveling between the US and Europe loved the ability to tack a few days in Iceland onto the beginning or end of their trip. There’s absolutely no reason that they wouldn’t want to do the same in the Faroe Islands too. With connections to a number of useful European destinations, and Paris planned for launch this summer, Atlantic Airways could evolve into the world’s next Icelandair.

Potential stopover
Stopping over between the US and Europe could be a fantastic experience. Image: GCMaps

A self-governing part of Denmark, the population of sheep on the Faroe Islands actually outnumbers the people. Despite its rurality and somewhat isolated geographic position, there are lots of reasons to love the islands. For a start, you don’t get much more ‘unspoilt’ than this, so for hiking, getting back to nature and enjoying stunning scenery, it could be a winner.

Faroe Islands
Remote, but so beautiful. Photo: Wikimedia

And for those that love their home comforts, there’s a Michelin starred restaurant, KOKS, based at Leynavatn, not to mention a number of interesting boutique hotels. Previously reliant on fish and farming for their income, the people of the Faroe Islands are starting to wake up to the solid income that could be possible from tourism. Visit Faroe Islands, the local tourist board, was revamped in 2012 and has a goal of doubling the number of overnight stays by 2020.

Clearly, Atlantic Airways are keen to assist in putting the Faroe Islands on the map. The potential for it to become ‘the next Iceland’ is clear. It’s in the right place, has a ready and willing airline and boasts appeal by the bucketload.

Jóhanna A Bergi
CEO Jóhanna A Bergi has strong ambitions for the airline. Photo: Atlantic Airways

The expansion of the airline is the brainchild of their CEO Jóhanna á Bergi, who took the helm in 2015. She holds the title of the first female CEO of any Nordic airline. Clearly, she’s got some strong ambitions for this tiny carrier based on an even tinier island. We can’t wait to fly with them!