March 28, 1988, was the day Atlantic Airways landed for the first time in Vágar. It was a day of celebration for the Faroese nation who for the first time was able to fly with Faroese wings. But the establishment of the company was far from easy. A combination of determination, luck and chance made the Faroese dream of having a national airline come true.
For a while, it was uncertain whether the company would survive. But suddenly it took a turn for the better, and the number of passengers grew and continued to grow ever since. The activity of the company increased, aircraft were added to the fleet, more destinations were added, the number of employees increased, and the company entered into several large contracts involving charter abroad.
In 2007/08 Atlantic Airways had seven aircraft and two helicopters in its fleet, and the company had 277 full-time equivalents. The extension of the runway at Vágar Airport in 2010 opened up new possibilities for the Faroese airline. The decision was made to replace the British Aerospace aircraft with Airbus aircraft. Only four months after the runway was finished the first Airbus 319 landed in Vágar Airport in March of 2012.
The aircraft profoundly improved the route net and regularity to and from the Faroe Islands. Atlantic Airways was the first airline in Europe to use the new and advanced navigation technology RPN AR 0.1. The new aircraft could stay in the air longer which the Faroese people became aware of that same summer when the first SÓL routes to Barcelona saw the light of day.
The Atlantic Airways fleet is made up of three aircraft and two helicopters. In 1994 Atlantic Airways took over the scheduled air service between the Faroese islands from the national company Strandfaraskip Landsins, and Atlantic Airways has been in charge of the service ever since.
In 2015 and 2016 the fleet’s old Bell helicopters were replaced by two brand-new up-to-date AugustaWestland AW139 helicopters. They are both more spacious and able to fly 200 nautical miles all the way out to the territorial water limit where they can be at work for 30 minutes in rescue campaigns. These are crucial qualities as Atlantic Airways serves as part of the emergency preparedness team which means that every day of the year 24-7 a helicopter crew is ready to go in a heartbeat.
In December 2006 Atlantic Airways purchased yet another aircraft: a brand-new Airbus A320. In connection with the arrival of the new aircraft to the Faroe Islands, Atlantic decided to name the fleet. The aircraft and helicopters are now named after distinguished Faroese artists.
The aircraft are named after William (Heinesen), Elinborg (Lützen) and Ingálvur (av Reyni), and the helicopters are named Sámal (Joensen-Mikines) and Ruth (Smith).