FarCargo Makes History as First Load Takes Off

The Eysturoy welcomed at Vagar Airport with water cannons spraying on March 4th, 2024. Image credits: Bjarni Árting Rubeksen—KVF.
Forklifting boxes of fresh salmon into FarCargo’s new terminal at Vagar Airport, March 5th, 2024. Image credits: Bui Tyril.

Air freight to and from the Faroe Islands has moved to a new level with the introduction of FarCargo, a dedicated freight airline that began cargo operations yesterday. On the previous day, FarCargo’s aircraft—a converted Boeing 757 passionately named Eysturoy after the island hosting its owner’s headquarters—arrived at Vagar Airport for the first time to the cheers of crowds, with a grand reception held the following day at the airport terminal.

Meanwhile, to accommodate the new operator, a special cargo terminal has been completed in one of the existing buildings at Vagar Airport.

Built in 2001, the former passenger plane has a hold capacity of 35 tonnes. The primary function will be to fly salmon products from Bakkafrost to clients in the United States, initially twice a week and later more frequently, ultimately five times a week, according to FarCargo chief executive Birgir Nielsen.

“On March 5th, 2024, at 19:22 local time, FarCargo’s Boeing 757, named Eysturoy, departed the Faroe Islands for New Jersey, USA for the very first time,” FarCargo announced last night. “The cargo onboard is premium fresh salmon from Bakkafrost, harvested in the Faroe Islands.”

No wonder the historic occasion was celebrated in the Faroese media. As the cargo plane took off on Tuesday evening, carrying its first load of fresh salmon from FarCargo owner Bakkafrost, a new reality has emerged—a major exporter in the Faroe Islands now ships fresh fish overseas by air in quantities. Simultaneously, new opportunities for imports by air present themselves with all the capacity available on the return flights.

The subject of using cargo aircraft for export shipments been discussed through decades, often with little conviction that it would ever materialize—until now that it’s all changed.

The Eysturoy loaded for the first time, shortly before taking off on March 5th, 2024. Image credits: Birgir Nielsen—FarCargo.

“This enables us to gain market access for fresh products,” FarCargo’s other chief executive, Hanus Jacobsen, noted. “We’ll have the airplane departing the Faroes fully loaded, whereas for the return, we’ll be looking to sell that hold capacity. There are lots of opportunities, such as fresh fruit—much of the fruit we currently get in the Faroes is not very fresh… As a Faroese, I think it’s great that we’ll now be able to import fresh fruit almost on a daily basis, from either the US or Europe. Also this will make it possible in urgent situations to get large items such as machinery components air lifted to the Faroes. This has previously not been possibly in the same way. I think this will bring many new opportunities that we may not have been much aware of. And that’s exciting.”