Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Transportation in Greenland
Greenland's transportation is very unusual in that it has no railways, no inland waterways and virtually no roads between towns. There is a total of 150km of roads in the entire country. There is only one pair of towns that are connected by a road, Ivittuut and Kangilinnguit. The rest are isolated. 60km of the roads are paved. Historically the major means of transportation have been by boat round the coasts of the country in summer and by dog sled in winter, particularly in the north and east. There are ports at Kangerluarsoruseq , Kangerlussuaq, Nanortalik , Narsarsuaq, Nuuk (Godthåb) and Sisimiut .
Following the ceding of operational control of Greenland to the United States by Denmark for the period in which that country was occupied by Germany during World War II, airports were built on the island. The airports were codenamed Bluie West One through to Bluie West Eight on the west of the island and Bluie East One to Bluie East Four on the eastern side.
The largest of those airports, Bluie West Eight, now renamed Kangerlussuaq, remains the international hub for travel to Greenland, as it is the only airport that has a large enough runway to service jumbo jets. American authorities at one time entertained the idea of building a road from Kangerlussuaq to the second largest airport, in Narsarsuaq, several hundred kilometres to the surface. The idea was abandoned after feasibility studies failed to prove it was possible.
Greenland now has a total of 18 airstrips, 14 of which are paved. All internal flights are operated by Air Greenland. The name was anglicized in 2002 from the Danish Grønlandsfly. International flights are limited to thrice weekly flights from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq and also to Narsarsauq with Air Greenland. Icelandair fly from Reykjavík to Narsarsuaq and offer "day trips to the wilderness" from Reykjavík to Kulusuk on the east coast. The only flight to mainland North America is run by First Air - it operates a weekly flight from Kangerlussuaq to Ottawa via Iqaluit.
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