Skien Airport, Geiteryggen (Norwegian: Skien lufthavn, Geiteryggen) (IATA: SKE, ICAO: ENSN) is an airport located 2.5 km southwest of the city centre of Skien, Norway. Skien Lufthavn AS operates the airport and this company is owned by the local municipality of Skien in the Grenland region. In 2005 the airport had 14,736 passengers, in 2006 approx 34,000 passengers used the airport. Estimated traffic for 2007 is about 50,000 passengers. The airport has domestic and international flights.
First aircraft to visit Skien landed in the nearby area of Gråtenmoen in 1914. Local businessmen with the support of local government soon realised that airtraffic was essential for the areas economic growth and planned an airport at Geiteryggen in 1936, but due to delays and World War II no real traffic ever started. In 1946 Telemark Flyselskap was established to start a local airport. Some seaplanes were using Skien's nearby canals and rivers to reach town with goods and passengers.
The local aviation club, Grenland Flyklubb (founded 1946), started flights at Geiteryggen in 1952. First plane, a 2 seater Piper Cub, landed Thursday February 7, 1952.
Skien Airport Geiteryggen has had commercial flights since the 1950s. From the start daily operations were run by Snorre Kjetilson and his wife Reidun and their company; Fjellfly (1952-1972). After a slow start the airline operated at the most 14 aircraft of various sizes (in 1965). They operated commercial flights to Oslo and Hamar as well as charter flights and goods transport. The airport was locally famous for its two bears that lived nearby the airport site.
In 1980 the third largest Norwegian carrier, Norving (1976-1988), had seven daily connections to Oslo, and Skien was the company's technical base. In 1987; 60,000 passengers used the airport. Norving was replaced by Norsk Air (soon to be Widerøe Norsk Air) until 1993 when this company moved its traffic to Sandefjord Lufthavn, Torp. In 1996 Sun Air offered for a short time international flights to Copenhagen. In total between 80-90 million NOK have been invested in the airport since the 80s.
Two years ago local businessmen, with the support of the local municipality, established a new airline; Vildanden, with daily connections to Bergen. In 2007 the airport got an additional boost with new daily flights to Molde, Stavanger and its first interntaional destination with three flights a week to Stockholm. The airline has also seen an increase in tourist traffic using its flights as well as the commuting oil-workers.
Owner of the airport have in October 2006 decided to grant a loan of 2,5 million NOK to continue air traffic at the airport.
Airlines that have operated from Geiteryggen: Fjellfly, Norving, Norsk Air, Sun Air Scandinavia, Air Stord, Teddy Air, Coast Air, Golden Air and European Executive Express (EEE).
Airlines and destinations
- Vildanden (Bergen, Stavanger, Stockholm-Bromma)
The airport has daily commercial flights.
The airport is trafficked by one airline and private jets/flights and airsport activities. Long-term plans are to develop this airport with more domestic destinations like Trondheim and Oslo and maybe add more international destinations like Copenhagen or London. Some investments have been made by the owners to keep commercial flights at the airport. Geiteryggen is one of a few airports in Norway to have free parking. The airport offers a unique portal to Telemark, its county capital; Skien and the Grenland region.
At the moment only the flight operator Vildanden runs daily flights. The company got its name from Skien's world-famous author Henrik Ibsen and his play Vildanden (The Wild Duck). The local airline will operates a 33-seater Saab 340 B on the route to Bergen following a two year agreement with Swedish company Avitrans Nordic AB. From March 2007 the airline offers daily flights to Molde and Stavanger as well as 3 flights a week to Stockholm in cooperation with Avitrans. The airline will be the only one in the area to offer direct flights to Molde and Stockholm.
Pegasus Helikopterskole (owned by Pegasus Helicopter FTO) has its helicopter training academy for commercial and private use, with its four helicopters, stationed at the airport. The academy is one of three private academies in Norway. About 20 people graduate as helicopter pilots each year from this academy.
Other businesses connected to the airport are: Grenland Flyklubb, Grenland Fallskjermklubb, Eurosky AS, Magne Dale and Guard System AS.
There are 30 employees directly or indirectly working at the airport. The owners get rental income from parts of the buildings.
Skien Lufthavn Geiteryggen is one of very few airports with daily flights that are not owned by Avinor (formerly Luftfartsverket; Norwegian state owned company). This could in the long term mean possibilities for low-cost airlines, private/business flights or even charter flights to establish themselves at the airport.
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The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2009.
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