Air Traffic Controller Training on Greenland – an Investment in the Future

As a measure aimed at future-proofing Greenland’s airports and providing new career opportunities on Greenland, next year Greenland will most likely have its first Greenland-trained native air traffic controllers.

Mittarfeqarfiit has been in charge of air traffic control at Kangerlussuaq since 1992. We have provided the service with qualified air traffic controllers from abroad, primarily from Denmark. Mittarfeqarfiit’s obligation to provide air traffic control at Kangerlussuaq, as subject to different agreements, will run until 2019. Mittarfeqarfiit’s 12 other airports have AFIS employees in their air control towers. AFIS’ employees on Greenland are typically Greenland-trained, at Mittarfeqarfiit.

“I am really happy that Greenland’s AFIS employees will now get the opportunity to get further training that has such tremendous prospects for the future of the industry. Our future new airports will require more air traffic controllers, which means that air traffic control will now become a proper career path for young Greenlanders. This initiative fills me with hope that, in the long term, this can make Greenland self-sufficient in this core competence area, and that we can cut our dependence on foreign manpower,” says Martha Lund Olsen, Greenland’s Naalakkersuisoq, or Minister, of Housing, Construction and Infrastructure.

In 2015, Mittarfeqarfiit launched a training partnership with ISAVIA of Iceland, the company that operates all of Iceland’s airports and is in charge of air traffic control over Greenland and Iceland’s airspace. The agreement initially covered air traffic control in Kangerlussuaq, but has now also been extended to include the training of nine air traffic controllers on Greenland.

Applicants for the training are the AFIS employees trained at Mittarfeqarfiit. Mittarfeqarfiit’s cooperation with ISAVIA will make it possible for them to upgrade their training and allow them to become air traffic controllers in just a year.

The benefit for Mittarfeqarfiit and Greenland’s aviation is that next year we will have our first native air traffic controllers and will therefore be able to fill positions with native specialists. Greenland will therefore be well-prepared to staff positions of vital importance with native personnel in connection with the upcoming airport extensions.

As for Greenland’s new air traffic controllers, the training signifies a job guarantee and a diploma that has international recognition and can be used all over the world.

For Mittarfeqarfiit, the training is an important initiative that enables it to offer the AFIS employees a career path.

The air traffic controller training is conducted in English, and it will initially include two applicants. The trainees will get paid during the training, and the deadline for applications is 15 December 2016. The training will be conducted in both Greenland and Iceland and will employ, among other things, advanced simulators.

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