Atlantic Airways is expanding its fleet. After ordering additional helicopter the “national” airline of the Faroe Island now firmed up an order for a new Airbus A320.
The Airbus order was confirmed on 9 June 2015. The A320 is meant to increase capacity on the line between the Faroes and Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark which controls the island group north of Scotland, halfway between Norway and Iceland.
Atlantic Airways’ A320 will have 168 seats, with the aircraft joining the three Airbus A319s currently operated by the company. Flying to and from the Faroe can be challenging due to the weather conditions. That’s why Atlantic Airways was the first airline in Europe to use the so-called Required Navigation Performance (RNP) to make it fly precisely along predefined routes using on-board navigation systems. The feature is built in into the new aircraft as well.
The new A320 will be delivered at the end of 2016.
Coming in 2016 as well, but rather at the beginning of the year, are two new AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters. Atlantic Airways ordered them in May this year. The new choppers will replace two 20-year old Bell 412s that provide line services between the Faroe islands. The new choppers are able to accommodate 15 passengers, against nine on the Bells. Atlantic Airways’ choppers are frequently flown on behalf of companies in the offshore oil industry.
The AW139s are capable to operate all the way to the outer limits of the 200 nautical mile territorial border of the Faroe islands and stay on station – for example during a rescue operation – for 30 minutes. The Bell 412s could only reach 127 nautical miles from base to be able to stay on the job for half an hour. For emergency purposes the AW139s can carry two stretchers. Operated by a crew of two, there will be then still be enough space for four other people in the cabin. On the Bell there is only room for a single stretcher and three people.
In emergency situations the AW139 can increase its normal cruise of 140 knots (260 kmh) to 163 knots (303 kmh), against the Bells flying 105 knots (195 kmh) at all times. Like the new Airbus A320 the AW139s will be equipped with RNP technology.
Sources: Airbus and Atlantic Airways
Featured image (top): Computer rendering of the new Airbus A320 in Atlantic Airways livery (Image © Fixion / GWLNSOD / Airbus S.A.S.)