It takes three hours to fly from Keflavik Airport to Ilulissat. Our small Air Greenland Dash 8 airplane accommodates 37 passengers. Although seats are assigned on the boarding pass, we were told that it is free seating on a first come first serve basis. Keep that in mind if you want to sit at the window. The first row next to the cabin door is reserved for the flight attendant.
It was cloudy and rainy at Keflavik, but once we reached the east coast of Greenland, clouds gave way to blue sky with excellent visibility.
The world’s largest island is surrounded by jagged mountain ranges on the outer rim
Food (sandwich) and snacks (cookies and fruits) were served throughout flight. Shortly after we were above Greenland, the friendly captain and his crew invited us to visit the cockpit 🙂 , which of course is unthinkable nowadays in the US.
Inland Greenland is covered with massive ice sheet. Greenland possesses the world’s second largest ice sheet.
In recent years, the speed of ice sheet melting outpaced the accumulation of snowfall, leading to abundant formation of these ethereal-looking supraglacial lakes on the ice sheet.
The scenery changes as we continue to head west
Approaching Disco Bay – overlooking ice shelves and stranded icebergs
Landing gear down
Ilulissat from the air
Our wonderful flight attendant
From March to October Air Greenland flies twice a week from the international airport in Keflavik to the capital, Nuuk and to Ilulissat.
During the summer period Air Iceland (not to be confused with Icelandair) also flies to Narsarsuaq and Ilulissat several times a week, and to Nuuk and Kangerlussuaq from two to four times a week.From UNESCO: Located on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord is a tidal fjord covered with floating brash and massive ice, as it is situated where the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier calves ice into the sea. In winter, the area is frozen solid. One of the few places where ice from the Greenland ice cap enters the sea, Sermeq Kujalleq is also one of the fastest moving (40 m per day) and most active glaciers in the world. Its annual calving of over 46 cubic kilometres of ice, i.e. 10% of all Greenland calf ice, is more than any other glacier outside Antarctica, and it is still actively eroding the fjord bed. The combination of a huge ice-sheet and the dramatic sounds of a fast-moving glacial ice-stream calving into a fjord full of icebergs make for a dramatic and awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.The Greenland ice cap is the only remnant in the Northern Hemisphere of the continental ice sheets from the Quaternary Ice Age. The oldest ice is estimated to be 250,000 years old, and provides detailed information on past climatic changes and atmospheric conditions from 250,000 to around 11,550 years ago, when climate became more stable. Studies made over the last 250 years demonstrate that during the last ice age, the climate fluctuated between extremely cold and warmer periods, while today the ice cap is being maintained by an annual accumulation of snow that matches the loss through calving and melting at the margins. This phenomenon has helped to develop our understanding of climate change and icecap glaciology.