Joakim Berglund – air-traffic controller at Hemavan Tärnaby airport

Name Joakim Berglund
Lives Hemavan
Occupation Air-traffic controller at Hemavan Tärnaby airport

Text: Elisabeth Aagård
Photo: Robert Henriksson

I was born and grew up in Hemavan, most of the people I grew up with still live here. Almost everybody leaves for a while and travels, but they come home again as they get older. Right before I moved home again, I travelled a lot between Hemavan and Norway and worked with all sorts of stuff, but one of the things I did was work at a summer ski resort outside Bergen, Norway. But then I felt like working from home year-round and saw an ad in the newspaper for people to work in the flight tower at Hemavan Tärnaby airport. I applied for the job. Three colleagues and I work here, but we man the tower one at a time.

A normal day can start with needing to get up really early, around five o’clock, to get the morning flight to Arlanda on its way. We monitor the technical equipment, provide information to aircraft at or near the airport and collect travel permits for the flights to Arlanda. Then we have office work until the flight has turned around at Arlanda and comes back up again. As we work in shifts, the next person comes to work in the afternoon and does pretty much the same thing.

The flight is very important to Hemavan Tärnaby! The airport is located within walking distance of the ski slopes, it’s a real luxury. As we are located where we are, it’s hard to get people here by train or bus, so we are almost reliant on the airport if we want tourists to come here in the future. And the flights are very popular! Amapola Flyg AB started flying here from 1 July.

When I don’t work, I usually go snowboarding, biking or running. That’s the way it goes when you grow up next to a ski resort with friends who have the same interests. When I was growing up, we didn’t have many alternatives to being in the slopes or cross-country skiing. There’s a wider range of things to do now. They play football in Tärnaby for example, and biking has really grown. It’s gone from being a very winter-oriented place to having more of a year-round orientation.

What I like best about the area is how accessible and close the good peaks are. We are usually out in the mountains around here, depending on the avalanche risk. During the winter we go on cross-country tours and ski a lot in the forest. The back-country season gets going towards springtime. A really good day out is a sunny and completely still weekday when we take the lifts up, head towards Kobåset and ski around there. I would recommend that as a hidden gem. The fact that it’s so simple to get there makes it all the better!