Air Transport News has published a revealing interview with Magni Arge, president and CEO of Atlantic Airways.
ATN: Are your passengers mainly incoming or outbound?
MA: Well, we need both because our population is very small and so we need to increase the proportion of tourists on board if we are to achieve higher passenger volumes. Thus, when we chose Barcelona as our first direct outbound “sunshine” destination, we also had one eye on the possibility of generating some tourist streams out of Spain. The tourism business is always something that you have to build up over the long term, but I would also say that we already have a certain amount of interest in tourism to the Faroe Islands from countries not currently served directly, including Germany, Italy and France, and it is now possible for us to set up direct routes to these countries, which was not the case previously. We have evaluated the possibility of setting up direct routes, not in 2012 but maybe in 2013 or 2014.
ATN: That means you’ll operate, say, a once a week flight?
MA: Yes, it will be a summer service that we will provide to Spain during the high season, once a week; and we also expect to have weekly flights to the Canary Islands during part of the winter. We are also thinking about ski resorts: we will operate mainly charter flights out of Denmark to Innsbruck etcetera.
ATN: That means that you want to “remote” your aircraft?
MA: Correct. As we’re flying a couple of frequencies a day to Denmark it will be fairly easy for us to continue to service this sector [from the Faroe Islands] when we’re flying to Innsbruck or other destinations.
ATN: And you are going to put the A319 there?
MA: As we operate currently, it’s with the Avro and during the weekend I think we could also make the Airbus available to fly ski charters out of Denmark while we keep the Avro on the route between Denmark and the Faroes.
ATN: Can you develop Faroe as a hub between continental Europe and Iceland?
MA: Well, I must say that Iceland has been extremely successful in the development of tourism, so the stream of tourists travelling to Iceland is growing and growing and we would very much like to see a development of traffic from Europe, whereby people combine a trip to Iceland with visiting the Faroes as well. We might also want to cooperate in the extensive route network Icelandair has to offer so that tourists going to and from the USA via Iceland might also stop over in the Faroe Islands. We’ve had a very good relationship with Icelandair, so we think that we might be able to develop that for the benefit of both parties.
ATN: You think perhaps you may do a kind of code-share?
MA: I cannot say that it is directly on the table but we already have our interline and spa agreements in place and we would consider any code-share proposal that was tabled.
ATN: You have mentioned using the A319 to cover destinations on the east coast of USA. That means there is a demand for specific destinations?
MA: The important opportunity for us is in expanding our ACMI and charter operations. By selecting an aircraft with the range to reach much of the eastern seaboard of the USA, we are increasing the opportunity to support a wider range of clients.
Air Transport News
[pictured: Norðoyar-fjøll; photo courtesy Atlantic Airways]