Keflavík International Airport

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Keflavík International Airport
Keflavíkurflugvöllur logo.svg
SSJ100 Keflavik runways (5160518757).jpg
Airport type Public / Military
Owner/Operator Isavia Limited
Serves Greater Reykjavík Area, Iceland
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
Passengers (2015) 4.855.505
Cargo (2012) 38,986 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. The airport is 1.7 nautical miles (3.1 km; 2.0 mi) west of Keflavík[2] and 50 km (31 mi) southwest of Reykjavík. The airport has three runways, two of which are in use, 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, each of which has the airport as its main hub. The airport is almost exclusively used for international flights; most domestic flights use Reykjavík Airport, which lies 3 km (1.9 mi) from Reykjavík's city centre, although seasonal flights from Akureyri fly to Keflavík. Keflavík Airport is operated by Isavia, a government enterprise.


Early years[edit]

Originally, the airport was built by the United States military during World War II and opened on March 23, 1943. The U.S. named it Meeks Field after a young pilot, George Meeks, who died on the Reykjavík airfield. After the war, the airport and the base were returned to Iceland's control and were renamed for the nearby town of Keflavik. In 1951, the U.S. military returned to the airport under a defense agreement between Iceland and the U.S. Later, Iceland joined NATO.

Development since the 1950s[edit]

With the reestablishment of the military air base at Keflavík during the 1950s, the air terminal found itself in the middle of a secure military zone. Travelers had to pass through military check points to reach their flights, until 1987, when the civilian terminal was relocated.[citation needed]

The presence of foreign military forces in Iceland under the NATO sponsored Iceland–U.S. Defense Agreement of 1951 was controversial in Iceland, which had no indigenous military forces other than the Icelandic Coast Guard.[citation needed] 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)[citation needed], the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Keflavík Airport Development Corporation (Kadeco), respectively. The Coast Guard maintains hangars for military aircraft as well as ammunition depots, air defence radars and other military equipment for national defence. 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). The Concorde had been there earlier.[5]


Departures area

The Airport is named after Leifur Eiríksson who was the first European to discover North America. Air Terminal (Flugstöð Leifs Eiríkssonar), named for Leif Ericson.[clarification needed] It was opened 6 April 1987[citation needed] 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 2016, the current terminal was expanded.[6] The expansion added 7 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 numerous locations across North America and 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. The airport only handles international flights (except for flights to Akureyri in connection with certain Air Iceland flights to Greenland); domestic flights and flights to Greenland and the Faroe Islands are operated from Reykjavík's domestic airport.


Airlines Destinations
airBaltic Seasonal: Riga
Air Berlin Berlin–Tegel, Düsseldorf
Seasonal: Hamburg, Munich
Air Berlin
operated by Belair
Seasonal: Zürich (begins 22 December 2016)[10]
Air Greenland Seasonal: Ilulissat,[11] Nuuk
Air Iceland Seasonal: Kangerlussuaq,[12] Narsarsuaq[12]
Atlantic Airways Vágar (begins 31 October 2016)
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
British Airways London–Heathrow
Czech Airlines Seasonal: Prague
Delta Air Lines New York–JFK
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich
easyJet Belfast–International, Edinburgh, London–Gatwick, London–Luton, Manchester
Seasonal: Bristol, London–Stansted
easyJet Switzerland Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva
Eurowings Seasonal: Berlin–Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki (begins 11 April 2017)[13]
Germania Seasonal: Bremen,[14] Dresden (begins 28 June 2017),[15] Friedrichshafen, Nuremberg (begins 28 June 2017)[15]
Iberia Express Seasonal: Madrid[16]
Icelandair Amsterdam, Bergen, Birmingham, Brussels, Boston, Chicago–O'Hare, Copenhagen, Denver, Edmonton, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, London–Gatwick, London–Heathrow, Manchester, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Munich, New York–JFK, Newark, Orlando, Oslo–Gardermoen, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly, Seattle/Tacoma, Stockholm–Arlanda, Tampa (begins 7 September 2017),[17] Toronto–Pearson, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Anchorage, Barcelona, Billund, Geneva, Gothenburg, Halifax, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan–Malpensa, Montréal–Trudeau, Philadelphia (begins 30 May 2017),[17] Portland (OR), Stavanger, Trondheim, Vancouver, Zürich
Seasonal charter: Dublin
operated by Air Iceland
Seasonal: Akureyri
Lufthansa Seasonal: Frankfurt, Munich
Niki Seasonal: Vienna
Norwegian Air Shuttle Barcelona (begins 2 November 2016), London Gatwick (begins 1 November 2016),[18] Madrid (begins 1 November 2016), Oslo–Gardermoen
Seasonal: Bergen
Primera Air[19] Seasonal: Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Málaga, Tenerife–South
Seasonal charter: Almeria, Bodrum, Chania
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Oslo–Gardermoen
Thomson Airways Seasonal: East Midlands (begins 25 January 2017),[20] London-Gatwick, Manchester
Transavia France Seasonal: Paris–Orly
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona, Rome–Fiumicino
Wizz Air Budapest, Gdańsk, Katowice (begins 27 March 2017),[21] Warsaw–Chopin, Vilnius (begins 31 October 2016)[21]
WOW air Alicante, Amsterdam, Baltimore, Berlin–Schönefeld, Bristol, Boston, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh,[22] Frankfurt,[23] Gran Canaria, London–Gatwick, Los Angeles,[24] Miami (begins 5 April 2017),[25] Montréal–Trudeau, Newark (begins 25 November 2016),[26] Paris–Charles de Gaulle, San Francisco,[24] Stockholm-Arlanda (begins 17 November 2016),[27] Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Barcelona, Düsseldorf, Lyon, Milan–Malpensa, Nice,[28] Rome–Fiumicino, Salzburg, Tenerife–South, Vilnius, Warsaw–Chopin


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


Passenger numbers[edit]

Year Passengers[29] Change
2004 1,883,725
2005 2,101,679 +11.6%
2006 2,272,917 +8.1%
2007 2,429,144 +6.9%
2008 2,193,434 -9.7%
2009 1,832,944 -16.4%
2010 2,065,188 +12.7%
2011 2,474,806 +19.8%
2012 2,764,026 +11.7%
2013 3,209,848 +16.1%
2014 3,867,425 +20.5%
2015 4,855,505 +25.5%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest destinations from Keflavík (2012)[30]
Rank City
1 Denmark Copenhagen
2 Norway Oslo
3 United Kingdom London
4 United States New York City
5 France Paris
6 United States Boston
7 Sweden Stockholm
8 Netherlands Amsterdam
9 United States Seattle/Tacoma
10 Germany Frankfurt

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. Buses are operated by Airport Express, Flybus and straeto (Reykjavik's transit company) to Reykjavik.[31] Taxis are available outside the terminal. Rental cars are available from various companies.[32]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 21 July 2013, a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner, prototype aircraft 97005, made a belly landing during a test flight. The cause was a crew mistake due to fatigue. They operated the plane manually in order to simulate failures.[33][34]


  1. ^ "Vísir – Enn eitt metið slegið í fjölda farþega sem fara um Keflavíkurflugvöll". 
  2. ^ a b "BIKF – Keflavík" (PDF). Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration. 
  3. ^ "2012 Passenger Statistics". Isavia Limited. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Cargo Statistics 2012". Isavia Limited. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Concorde to Iceland – The Ultimate Day Trip Trailer – Plato Video". YouTube. 21 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Hugmyndir um að reisa nýja flugstöð" (in Icelandic). ruv. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Metfjöldi farþega á Keflavíkurflugvelli í fyrra – Mikil aukning fjórða árið í röð". 
  8. ^ "Hugmyndir um nýja flugbraut á Keflavíkurflugvelli" (in Icelandic). visir. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "airberlin Adds Zurich – Reykjavik Holidays Service in W16". 27 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "From Iceland to Greenland". Air Greenland. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "Air Iceland S16 Greenland Operation Changes". 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Germania Adds Iceland Service June - August 2016". 13 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ "IBERIA EXPRESS EMPEZARÁ A VOLAR A ISLANDIA EN JUNIO DE 2016". 22 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Icelandair Announces Service from Tampa Bay and Philadelphia". 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  18. ^ "Norwegian announces flights from Gatwick to Iceland and Lapland". 18 August 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016. 
  19. ^ " Primera Air Scandinavia: Nowe połączenia ze Skandynawii". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b L, J (7 September 2016). "WizzAir plans new Katowice routes in S17". airlineroute. Retrieved 7 September 2016.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "WizzLT_2016" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  22. ^ 2016, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Wow Air Adds Edinburgh Flights from mid-July 2016". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  23. ^ "Wow Air Adds Frankfurt Service from June 2016". 
  24. ^ a b "Wow Air Launches US West Coast Service from June 2016". 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Wow Air Adds Newark Service from late-Nov 2016". routesonline. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  27. ^ "Wow Air Stockholm airport changes in 4Q16". routesonline. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  28. ^ "Wow Air Adds Nice Service in S16". 
  29. ^ "2010 -". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Airport Shuttle from Keflavik Airport, Iceland - Keflavik International Airport -". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  32. ^ "Car Rental/Car Hire at Keflavik International Airport, Iceland -". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  33. ^ "Accident: Sukhoi SU95 at Keflavik on Jul 21st 2013, belly landing". 
  34. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. March 2016. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Keflavík International Airport at Wikimedia Commons