Qaqortoq: Significant progress on the airport project before work halts during winter

It has been a busy 2022 in Qaqortoq since a chartered cargo ship from the main contractor, Pennecon, in early summer unloaded large quantities of material and machinery at the construction site of the coming airport.

Since then, up to 50 people have worked on the project simultaneously, including blasting and hauling away material. Intensive work is also being done to level the terrain and to prepare for the partial filling of nearby lakes, where part of the area will be used for the future airport.

A camp has been established with living containers for 60 people as well as a canteen, office and meeting facilities.

Come summer 2023, the work will have reached the point where the construction contractor can begin the foundation work that precedes the construction of the airport's new terminal and other buildings. At the same time, work starts on running fiber cables and high-voltage lines along the eight-kilometer-long road out to the construction site and much more.

In addition to Pennecon and KAIR, several local companies contribute to solving tasks. QEF is engaged in blasting – amongst other tasks. Permagreen has helped establish a camp and a garage building at the explosives depot. HK Transport provides machines and personnel for the construction effort, and Arctic Unlimited handles guard- and canteen duty.

Construction closes for the winter on December 16 and until March 15. In autumn 2022, Pennecon worked double shifts and will continue to do so when work resumes in the spring. Construction work will then continue around the clock until autumn 2023.

The airport is expected to be operational in the autumn of 2025. It will be built with a 1,500-meter-long runway on the north side of Storefjeld. The driving distance between the airport and Qaqortoq city will be approx. 6.5 km.

The airport will be able to service all types of aircraft used internally in Greenland and planes that can service overseas destinations such as Iceland and eastern Canada. The terminal building will have an area of approx. 2,350 square meters – and can handle 100 departing and 100 arriving passengers per hour.

  • More than 90 percent of the future runway is on filled terrain; there are 22 meters to the bottom of the deepest hole to be filled up

  • Currently approx. 15 percent of all planned blasts have been completed

  • During the construction of the airport, approximately two million cubic meters of rock must be blasted and moved

  • In total, about 1,600 tonnes of explosives are expected to be used
     during the construction of the new airport 
  • Most of the explosives used are of the so-called emulsion type. Here, the ingredients are driven to the blast site in a tank truck and are first mixed into explosives when it is poured into the holes
  • The project's biggest blasting to date involved using 55 tons of explosives.