Svalbard Airport, Longyear

Svalbard Airport, Longyear

Infobox Airport
name = Svalbard Airport, Longyear
nativename = Svalbard lufthavn, Longyear
nativename-a =
nativename-r =

image-width =
caption =

image2-width =
caption2 =
type = Public
owner =
operator =
owner-oper = Avinor
city-served = Longyearbyen
location =
built =
used =
commander =
occupants =
elevation-f = 88
elevation-m = 27
coordinates = coord|78|14|46|N|15|27|56|E|type:airport
website =
metric-elev = 1
metric-rwy = 1
r1-number = 10/28
r1-length-f = 7,621
r1-length-m = 2,323
r1-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 2007
stat1-header = Passengers
stat1-data = 129,274
footnotes =

Svalbard Airport, Longyear airport codes|LYR|ENSB ( _no. Svalbard lufthavn, Longyear) is an airport in Svalbard. It is located 1.6 nautical miles (3 km) northwest of Longyearbyen, and it is the northernmost airport in the world having public scheduled flights. It is owned and run by Avinor. The construction of Svalbard Airport was started in 1973 and it was officially opened in September 2, 1975.

Currently the largest operator into Svalbard Airport is Scandinavian Airlines, which operate daily flights to Tromsø and onwards to Oslo, as well as twice-weekly flights directly to Oslo. Starting March 2008 this monopoly ended when low-cost carrier Norwegian opened twice-weekly direct flights to Oslo. There are also service by Lufttransport to destinations in Svalbard including Ny-Ålesund and Svea with its Dornier Do 228 turboprop aircraft. There are also charter flights operated into the airport. In 2007, there were 129,274 passengers using Svalbard Airport, an 1.0% increase from the previous year [cite web |url= |title=Årsstatistikk Passasjerer 2007 |author=Avinor |date=2008]



Before Svalbard had an air service, the entire island was cut off from the rest of the world, with the exception of radio communication, between November and May. During World War II the German invasion forces in Norway had constructed a primitive airstrip at Adventdalen, near Longyearbyen.

On February 9 1958 the first post-war aircraft landed on Svalbard; a Catalina amphibian aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Air Force. The Air Force had been flying in mail, but on this day a person was seriously ill and had to be flown to mainland Norway. The mining company Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani insured that the airstrip was cleared of snow, and the transportation was a success.

Braathens S.A.F.E started flying with their Douglas DC-4 aircraft and landed at Adventdalen. The airline flew quite a number of charter flights up to the island region, and December 8 1965 they flew to the island for the first time in the dark. In the winter Svalbard is dark all day long, and so flights to Svalbard in December could not be done in daylight. The main problem was navigating, as there was at that time no navigational equipment in the area except radio stations at Bear Island. The aircraft landed with the help of cars parked along the runway.

On April 29 1972 the first jet aircraft, a Fokker F-28 from Braathens SAFE landed, but soon the airline was operating with Boeing 737-200 aircraft. In 1973 the first aircraft from Russia, an Aeroflot flight, landed on Svalbard. All this time it was the mining company Store Norske who was responsible for shoveling the runway, which could only operate in the winter, while the ground was frozen.

A "real" airport

On August 14 1975 the new, all-year paved-surface airport with a terminal was opened at Longyearbyen. Its construction was rather controversial, since the Svalbard Treaty specified that Norway could not have any military installations on the islands, and the new airport could potentially be used by NATO forces in an attack of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the Soviet mining community at Barentsburg also benefited from the construction of the new airport, which connected it to the mainland. The first aircraft to land at the airport was a Braathens SAFE Fokker F-28 on August 14, 1974. When the new airport was finished, a permanent concession was given to Scandinavian Airlines to operate the route, using Douglas DC-9 aircraft, and Aeroflot began operating flights to the Soviet Union. Fred. Olsen Flyselskap was chartered in for cargo flights. In 1987 Braathens SAFE reentered the market, flying in parallel with SAS. Lufttransport has been at the airport since 1978. The airport was rebuilt in 1989 because of problems from the permafrost [cite web |url= [ |title=Svalbard airport runway. Performances during a climate-warming scenario |author=Instanes, A. and Mjureke, D.] . Avinor announced in autumn 2005 that a new terminal will be built. It is planned to be completed in 2007-2008 [cite web |url=;action=Article.publicOpen;ID=2482 |title=unknown |author=Avinor] . Svalbard airport has one 2,323 m runway equipped with Instrument Landing System.


The main problem constructing the airport was that it had to be constructed on permafrost. Among other things, the runway is insulated against the ground, so that it will not melt during the summer. The hangar is the largest building in the world to be frozen into the ground.Fact|date=August 2007

Airlines and destinations


* Norwegian (Oslo)
* Scandinavian Airlines (Oslo, Tromsø)

Corporate charter

* Lufttransport (Ny-Ålesund, Svea)
* Vnukovo Airlines (Murmansk, Moscow)

Accidents and incidents

* October 10, 1986 - A Cessna aircraft crashed immediately after leaving Svalbard Airport, all six onboard died.
* August 29, 1996 - Vnukovo Airlines flight 2801 from Vnukovo Airport, Moscow crashed into a mountain about 14km from the airport, all 141 people onboard died. It is the worst air crash in Norwegian history. []


* Norwegian AIP

External links

*avinor link|svalbard|Longyear
* [ Photos of Svalbard Airport]

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