In October, 1941 the United States Army Air Force constructed an airbase at the site of Kangerlussuaq. It served as a refuelling stop for single-engine military aircraft being flown to Britain during World War II. From their last port of call, Goose Bay, Labrador, it was 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) to Kangerlussuaq until they could refuel. Kangerlussuaq fjord (‘Big Fjord’), is 170 kilometers (105 miles) long and was often shrouded in fog, providing a serious navigation problem for those aircrews.
Today, with the use of modern technology, navigation is no longer an issue. The landscape was ideal for the site of an airport. A large alluvial plain, deposited by the nearby glacial-outflow river, provided a perfectly flat environment for an airport. Kangerlussuaq is the largest commercial airport in Greenland and supports a population of 500. A little known fact, from 1971 to 1987, 33 missiles from various countries, were fired from Kangerlussuaq for upper atmospheric scientific research.