Bakkafrost, the biggest salmon farmer in the Faroe Islands and one of the world’s largest salmon producers, has declared its intention to establish a new cargo airline and is reportedly looking to acquire a Boeing freighter, a B757-200 or a B767-200.

The company, which also owns owns the Scottish Salmon Company, has a constant logistical challenge to carry fresh salmon to various parts of the world, in particular to the United States, and has a fleet of ships to do so. It hopes that its first foray into air transport with dedicated aircraft would be the most cost-effective way to transport the freshest fish straight from the ocean.

At the moment, the Faroese salmon must be exported by sea to the United Kingdom or Denmark before being put on flights across the Atlantic. The new as-yet-unnamed carrier aims to buy or lease a cargo aircraft as soon as possible to directly connect with markets, Hanus Jacobsen, head of Bakkafrost’s operations in the US, told Faroese media.

Direct air routes from Vágar Airport to the company’s markets would benefit both the company and the environment, he added.

Bakkafrost would occupy most of the outbound capacity and the Faroe Islands’ importers would be offered space for the return journeys. Its presence in Scotland would help with the inbound flights, according to Bakkafrost CEO Regin Jacobsen, who will also be the chairman of the airline.

“The challenge would be to fill up the inbound capacity. We would probably not be able to fill a cargo aircraft on a regular route between the USA and the Faroe Islands. But the plane could possibly fly via Glasgow Int'l back to the Faroes. That would make it possible to fill the capacity to Scotland, and the flying time from Glasgow to Vágar is only one hour,” he explained, as quoted by Fish Farmer magazine.

Bakkafrost posted a higher-than-expected total operating profit of DKK223.5 million kroner (USD35.3 million) for the first three months of 2021.

The runway at Vágar was extended to 1,799 metres in December 2011, and in 2012 it was classified as CAT 1. According to the ch-aviation capacities module, in the post-Covid environment, just two airlines currently operate scheduled flights at the airport - the archipelago’s own carrier Atlantic Airways to Copenhagen Kastrup (18x weekly), Billund (4x weekly), Aalborg, Reykjavik Keflavik (both 2x weekly), Oslo Gardermoen, and Palma de Mallorca (both 1x weekly); and SAS Scandinavian Airlines 6x weekly from Copenhagen.