The Faroe Islands, a tiny archipelago in the North Atlantic, roughly halfway between Scotland and Iceland, punches well above its weight when it comes to their participation in the global aviation business.
Despite having barely 50,000 inhabitants, this autonomous territory of Denmark already has its own airline, Atlantic Airways, which operates a fleet of four A320-family aircraft (plus two helicopters for domestic flights), and it will soon be joined by a second carrier
, called FarCargo.
Just that this time, the Faroese aircraft won’t be carrying people, but salmon.
Fishing is the main economic activity in the Faroe Islands, accounting for 20% of GDP and 95% of exports. Salmon has a particularly prominent role, as it represents 45% of all of the archipelago’s exports.
The new cargo airline is, in fact, a subsidiary of a local fish exporter called Bakkafrost, which is a major player in the global salmon market, processing around 100,000 tons of this variety of fish every year.
FarCargo has purchased a Boeing 757-200 cargo aircraft, which has the capacity to carry 35 tons of salmon per trip. The aircraft is expected to be delivered in October 2023.
The main purpose of this investment is to fly salmon as quickly as possible to the United States, avoiding intermediate stops along the way.
FarCargo is aiming to fly between Vagar (FAE), the only airport in the Faroe Islands, and Newark (EWR), the US, up to 5 times a week. The flight back to Europe will return to Vagar via Billund (BLL), in the Danish mainland.
“We have sold 100% of the capacity with fresh salmon from the Faroe Islands to the US. Bakkafrost has a growing market in [the] US for fresh salmon and has its own production and sales department in New Jersey. Today, salmon is transported by sea from Faroe Islands to the UK and from there to the US by air. So, we will make this air transport shorter and more efficient. We will shorten the transport [time] for Bakkafrost from 4-5 days to under 1 day”, Birgir Nielsen, CEO of FarCargo, told AeroTime.
On the return leg via Denmark, FarCargo will make the capacity available to other companies to ship goods to Europe.
This is not going to be the only direct flight between the Faroes and the US. On August 22, 2023, Atlantic Airways plans to launch the first scheduled passenger nonstop flights between Vagar and New York Stewart International Airport (SWF). This weekly service will be operated by A320neo aircraft.