Keflavík International Airport

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Keflavík International Airport
Keflavíkurflugvöllur logo.svg
2006-05-27-082806 Iceland Keflavík.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Isavia Limited
Serves Greater Reykjavík Area
Location Keflavík, Iceland
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 52 m / 171 ft
Coordinates 63°59′06″N 22°36′20″W / 63.98500°N 22.60556°W / 63.98500; -22.60556Coordinates: 63°59′06″N 22°36′20″W / 63.98500°N 22.60556°W / 63.98500; -22.60556
KEF/BIKF is located in Iceland
Location in Iceland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 3,054 10,020 Asphalt
11/29 3,065 10,056 Asphalt
Statistics (2012 and 2013)
Passengers 3,209,848 (2,013) up 16.1% from 2,764,026 (2,012)
Cargo 38,986(2,012) t
Sources:[1] AIP Iceland at ICAA[2]
Statistics: Isavia Limited[3][4]

Keflavík International Airport (Icelandic: Keflavíkurflugvöllur) (IATA: KEFICAO: BIKF), also known as Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport, is the largest airport in Iceland and the country's main hub for international transportation. It is situated 1.7 NM (3.1 km; 2.0 mi) west of Keflavík[2] and 50 km (31 mi) south-west of Reykjavík. The airport has three runways, of which two are operated, and the airport area is about 25 km2 (9.7 sq mi). Most international journeys to or from Iceland pass through this airport.

The main carriers at Keflavík are Icelandair and WOW air, who make the airport their main hub. The airport is almost exclusively an international airport; most domestic flights are flown from Reykjavík Airport, which lies 3 km (1.9 mi) from Reykjavík's city centre, although seasonally flights from Akureyri are flown to Keflavík. Keflavík Airport is operated by Isavia, a government enterprise.


Early years[edit]

The airport was built by the United States military during World War II. The U.S. Army Air Forces desired an airfield at Keflavík capable of operating heavy bombers, in addition to a fighter strip. Funds were allocated in January 1942 and construction began on the fighter strip (known as Patterson Field) in May. Two runways of the fighter field were in use by July when Operation Bolero commenced. The bomber field, known as Meeks Field, was begun in July by military and civilian contractor crews, but the civilian contractor was soon relieved by the newly formed U.S. Navy construction battalions Seabees. Meek Field[clarification needed] was dedicated on 23 March 1943 and by May stopover service for transatlantic military flights was in operation.

During the war the airport complex only served military purposes, but at war's end it became a refueling stop for the quickly developing international civil aviation crossing the Atlantic. At the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1947, the airport was handed over to Iceland and renamed Keflavík Airport. The Airport was operated jointly by Iceland and the United States for transiting civil and military flights. U.S. forces returned to Keflavík in 1951 under the auspices of NATO (see Naval Air Station Keflavik) and joint operation continued until 30 September 2006, when the military installation was handed over to the government of Iceland.

Development since the 1950s[edit]

With the re-construction of the military base at Keflavík during the 1950s, the air terminal found itself positioned in the middle of the base. International travelers thus had to enter military check points to reach their flights for most of the time, which gave the feeling that the U.S. military controlled access to and from Iceland. This continued until 1987 when the civilian terminal was relocated.

The presence of foreign military forces in Iceland under the NATO sponsored Iceland–U.S. Defense Agreement of 1951 was a controversial issue in Iceland, which had no indigenous military forces. During the 1960s and 1970s, rallies were held to protest the U.S. military presence in Iceland (and in particular at Keflavík), and every year protesters walked the 50 km (31 mi) road from Reykjavík to Keflavík and chanted "Ísland úr NATO, herinn burt" (literally: Iceland out of NATO, the military away). The protests were not effective. One of the participants was Vigdís Finnbogadóttir[citation needed], who later became the first female President of Iceland.

The former Agreed Military Area at Keflavík was re-designated "Airport, Security and Development Area" under the supervision of the Keflavík International Airport Ltd. (established 1 January 2009), the Icelandic Defence Agency and the Keflavík Airport Development Corporation (Kadeco), respectively. The former military encampment area (U.S. Naval Air Station Keflavik) being developed by Kadeco has been named Ásbrú to reflect its new role. The airport is in the little village named Sandgerði, but the runway leads to Keflavík.

The 10,000-foot-long (3,000 m) and 200-foot-wide (61 m) runways are long enough to support NASA's Space Shuttle and also the Antonov An-225. On 29 June 1999, Concorde G-BOAA flew from Heathrow Airport to Reykjavík (Keflavík airport). Concorde has been there earlier.[5]


Departures area

The Airport is named after Leifur Eiríksson who discovered North America. Air Terminal (Flugstöð Leifs Eiríkssonar), named for Leif Ericson. It was opened 6 April 1987 and separated the airport's civil traffic from the military base. It was later extended with the opening of the South Building in 2001 (not a separate terminal) to comply with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement. The North Building was later enlarged and finished in 2007. The terminal has duty-free stores in the departure and arrival lounges.

In 2014 the current terminal will be expanded.[6] The expansion will add 6 gates.[7] There are also plans to add a third runway.[8]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Although the population of Iceland is only about 300,000, there are scheduled flights to and from ten locations in the United States (Anchorage, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark, New York City, Orlando, Portland, Seattle, and Washington), four in Canada (Edmonton, Vancouver, Halifax and Toronto) and 31 cities across Europe. The largest carrier operating out of Keflavík is Icelandair. On 23 October 2012 WOW air acquired Iceland Express[9] making it the second largest Icelandic carrier and the second largest at Keflavík.

Keflavík Airport only handles international flights (except for flights to Akureyri in connection with certain Air Iceland's flights to Greenland); domestic flights and flights to Greenland and the Faroe Islands are operated from Reykjavík's domestic airport. When changing between these two airports, a 50 km (31 mi) bus transfer is usually needed, and at least three hours time between flights is recommended.


Airlines Destinations
Adria Airways Summer seasonal charter: Ljubljana
Air Berlin Summer seasonal: Berlin-Tegel, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich
Air Greenland Summer seasonal: Nerlerit Inaat, Nuuk
Alitalia Summer seasonal charter: Milan-Malpensa
Atlantic Airways Vágar
Austrian Airlines Summer seasonal: Vienna (resumes 1 April 2015)
Corendon Airlines Summer seasonal charter: Antalya
Delta Air Lines Summer seasonal: New York-JFK
Edelweiss Air Summer seasonal: Zürich
easyJet Belfast-International, Bristol, Edinburgh, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, Manchester
easyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva
Germanwings Summer seasonal: Berlin-Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf (begins 1 June 2015), Hamburg, Stuttgart
Icelandair Amsterdam, Birmingham, Boston, Copenhagen, Denver, Edmonton, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Manchester, Munich, New York-JFK, Newark, Oslo-Gardermoen, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Seattle/Tacoma, Stockholm-Arlanda, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Dulles
Summer seasonal: Anchorage, Barcelona, Bergen, Billund, Brussels, Geneva, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Halifax, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan-Malpensa, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Portland (OR) (begins 19 May 2015), Saint Petersburg, Stavanger, Trondheim, Vancouver, Zürich
Summer seasonal charter: Dublin
Winter seasonal: Orlando (resumes 4 September 2015)
operated by Air Iceland
Summer seasonal: Akureyri[10]
Jet Time Summer seasonal charter: Trondheim
Lufthansa Summer seasonal: Frankfurt (begins 2 May 2015), Munich (begins 23 May 2015)
Niki Summer seasonal: Vienna
Norwegian Air Shuttle Oslo-Gardermoen
Summer seasonal: Bergen
Primera Air Copenhagen, Tenerife-South, Gran Canaria
Summer seasonal: Alicante, Billund, Oslo-Gardermoen, Lisbon
Summer seasonal charter: Chania
Scandinavian Airlines Oslo-Gardermoen
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium Summer seasonal: Brussels
Thomson Airways Winter seasonal charter: Manchester (begins 27 January 2016) France Summer seasonal: Paris-Orly
Vueling Summer seasonal: Barcelona, Rome-Fiumicino (begins 20 June 2015)
WOW air Alicante,[11] Amsterdam, Baltimore (begins 8 May 2015),[12] Berlin-Schönefeld, Billund (begins 12 June 2015), Copenhagen, Dublin (begins 2 June 2015), London-Gatwick, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Summer seasonal: Barcelona, Boston, Düsseldorf, Lyon, Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino (begins 1 June 2015), Stuttgart, Tenerife-South (begins 4 April 2015), Vilnius, Warsaw-Chopin, Zürich
Winter seasonal: Salzburg


Airlines Destinations
Air Atlanta Icelandic Bagram, Frankfurt, Jakarta-Soekarno Hatta, Kuwait, Luxembourg
Atlas Air Astana, Fargo, Shymkent
Bluebird Cargo Cologne/Bonn, Dublin, Moncton
Icelandair Cargo East Midlands, Liège, Humberside, New York-JFK
TNT Airways Liège, New York-JFK
UPS Airlines
operated by Bluebird Cargo
Cologne/Bonn, Cork, Edinburgh, Moncton
Volga-Dnepr Airlines Hartford/Springfield


Busiest routes from Keflavik (2012)[13]
Rank Destination Airlines
1 Copenhagen, Denmark Icelandair, WOW Air
2 Oslo-Gardermoen, Norway Icelandair, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Primera Air, Scandinavian Airlines
3 London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow and London-Luton, United Kingdom easyJet, Icelandair, WOW Air
4 New York-JFK and Newark, United States Delta Air Lines, Icelandair
5 Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France and Orly, France Icelandair, WOW Air, France
6 Boston, United States Icelandair
7 Stockholm-Arlanda, Sweden Icelandair
8 Amsterdam, Netherlands Icelandair, WOW Air
9 Seattle/Tacoma, United States Icelandair
10 Frankfurt, Germany Icelandair

Ground transport[edit]

Transport between the airport and Reykjavik city is by road only. The distance is 50 km. A new dual carriageway road (route 41) was opened in 2008. Public transportation is operated by Iceland Excursions' Airport Express and Reykjavik Excursions Kynnisferðir's Flybus services. They both have a timetable adapted to the arrival and departing flights' schedule. They go to and from the Reykjavik bus terminal, taking around 45 minutes. Both companies offer a stop at the domestic airport and also provide direct stops at major hotels and hostels in the Reykjavik area through their shuttle service on request. Taxis are available outside the terminal. Rental cars are also available.

Accidents and incidents[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Keflavík International Airport at Wikimedia Commons