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Nuuk Airport – Spotting Guide
Nuuk Airport, (formerly Godthåb in Danish), serves the capital of Greenland, and is located 3.7km northeast of the city of the same name. However, with its short runway, the airport is only capable of servicing aircraft up to the size of the Dash 8, though. To handle aircraft of a bigger size, there are ongoing runway expansion works, finished in 2024.
Nuuk is a technical base for Air Greenland, the flag carrier, and the airline links the capital with several towns in the west and south of Greenland which is the world’s largest island. As well as operating its Dash 8 and helicopter fleets from Nuuk, Air Greenland also bases a Beech King Air there for air ambulance flights and occasional charters. Despite being an international airport, the only international route currently served from Nuuk is the Icelandair service to Keflavik in Iceland.
The airport was built in 1979 when the newly formed home rule government decided to create a network of STOL-capable domestic airports. Nuuk, Kulusuk and Ilulissat Airports constituted the first wave of this development, with several other new airports being built in the 1990s. Nuuk Airport’s passenger terminal has three gates and there is also an Air Greenland cargo terminal.
Written by Clive Grant and Tim Nicolausen. Last change. September 2023 (Spot 1 and 2 updated, Spot 3 added)
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|04/22||950m (3.117 ft) – The northern part is under construction and finished in 2024. Complete length will be 2200m then.|
|Terminals||The airport has one small passenger terminal serving all traffic.|
|Ladder||Not necessary. There is just a small wooden fence around the field.|
|Car/Public Transport||Not necessary, spots are within walking distance of the terminal.|
|Drinks/Food/Restrooms||Available in the airport terminal.|
|Hotels||There are several hotels in the city but nothing adjacent to the airport|
|Season||With few daylight hours, temperatures in Greenland are likely to be unbearably cold between November and April, though April is historically the sunniest month. For the combination of daylight hours, sunshine and reasonable temperatures, the best time to visit Nuuk is probably between May and September, with July having up to twenty hours of daylight.|
|04/22||Is the only runway and the wind direction will generally determine which end of the runway is in use.|
|Spot #1 – Terminal Car park – Traffic on the runway|
|WHERE||Exit the terminal and turn left towards the gate in the corner of the fence. There is just a small wooden fence, so no ladder is needed.|
|WHAT||Aircraft on the apron and aircrafts approaching runway 22. (No pictures of aircrafts on the runway anymore as the old runway has been removed and the northern part of the new runway is still under construction. Old sample pictures are not valid anymore.)|
|TIME||Aircraft on the Apron only in summer in the early mornings. Aicrafts on approach to runway 22 from 2 hours after sunrise till noon.|
|MISC.||Just outside the airport terminal, so all facilities are available there.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Dash 8 on approach to runway approx 140mm.|
|Spot #2 – Mound – Traffic on the runway|
Update September 2023: As the runway has moved to the south this spot is “in the middle of nowhere” and even can’t be reached as everything north of the terminal parking is a big construction site. It is not clear if there will be a usefull position at this spot when the runway-extension is completed as large amounts of the hill are removed in that area.
|Spot #3 – Airport Road – All movements|
|WHERE||Exit the (old) terminal to the right and follow the main road for approximately 8-10 Minutes to the south until you reach the top of the hill a few hundred meters before the new terminal under construction. If arriving by bus #3 from the City there is a bus stop called “Munck Camp” at that position (There is no bus-stop sign). Keep in mind that you have to take pictures standing at the edge of the road next to the crash barrier. Optional you can stay on the sidewalk if you have a little foldable step to overcome the crash barrier.|
|WHAT||Whole length of runway can be seen. Also northern parts of the new terminal apron and parts of the old apron (only in the distance).|
|TIME||2 hours after sunrise (sun will be behind the hills for that time) till noon.|
|MISC.||All facilities are available in the terminal.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Dash 8-Q200: 270mm
Beech 350: 400mm