Airports create opportunities across the world

Mittarfeqarfiit trains new AFIS operators every year in cooperation with Integra Aviation Academy at their school in Kangerlussuaq. AFIS stands for “Aerodrome Flight Information Service” and trained operators have the overview of the airspace from Mittarfeqarfiit’s control towers, providing the pilots with information helping them to land and take off safely. In October, the latest group of students began the program.

The AFIS operator training takes almost a year to complete and provides plenty of opportunities for graduates. The training is tough and there are many challenges, but completion of the program guarantees employment in one of Mittarfeqarfiit’s airports. Within Mittarfeqarfiit, there are exciting challenges with special conditions in all the airports, and there are opportunities for skills development within the organization. The program can be used as a stepping stone for later enrollment in an air traffic controller training, and it opens up many opportunities in the aviation industry. Historically, many AFIS operators have also used the experience from Mittarfeqarfiit’s airports to seek challenges outside of Greenland.

“The AFIS program opens doors in many parts of the world. It provides opportunities within AFIS, but also in many other parts of the aviation industry,“ says Glenn Lundt, who currently works as the airport manager in Koldingegnen’s Airport. Glenn started as an AFIS operator in Mittarfeqarfiit and was hired in 2010 as airport manager in Koldingegnen’s Airport. “The prerequisite for the position was that you had to have an AFIS background, so that you could stand-in and had insight into all the processes of an airport. My time as an AFIS operator has provided me with a fantastic basis for understanding our customers at the airport,“ says Glenn.

On October 12th, the latest group of AFIS aspirants began their training in Kangerlussuaq. Paninnguaq Lynge, who has just begun the program, says that “there is plenty to do and it’s a tough program. But there are some super motivating teachers, so it’s really cool to get started.” Paninnguaq hopes to get to Nuuk and work there sometime in the future, but she is also open to working elsewhere in Greenland, should the opportunity present itself.

The admission process took place in August, including four days of talks, simulator training, a four hour exam in English, Danish, mathematics, logic test and a writing course. Subsequently, six students were admitted to the program and they can now look forward to their six-month training over the winter. During the course of the six months, they will be equipped to handle the situations found in the towers, and they can add more and more elements training in the simulator, to ensure that the students are prepared in the best possible way.

Morten Rod Rasmussen is an AFIS operator in Qaarsut and took the training when it was held in Narsarsuaq. “You have a ‘hands-on’ experience of what’s going on. You have contact with the planes, and they come down to you when they land. I like having things happening here and now, and I also think that the interaction with the pilots is exciting,“ says Morten regarding the work in the tower.

The AFIS aspirants will stay in newly renovated student housing in Kangerlussuaq during the school year. The college is furnished with good, well-lit rooms with good facilities. To complete the program the aspirants then go out to the coast and perform their practical experience. Four airports are certified to have trainees, so the students’ practical experience can be in Ilulissat, Nuuk, Narsarsuaq or Kulusuk.

Written by Communications Consultant Rune Bo Viborg Kaldau

CC - Creative Commons Rune Kaldau

Photo: AFIS operator at work in Aasiaat Airport

Photo: The control tower in Kangerlussuaq Airport

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