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Airport Keflavík (Island) - International

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Keflavík International Airport

Airport typePublic / Military
Owner/OperatorIsavia Limited
ServesGreater Reykjavík Area, Iceland
LocationSandgerđi, Iceland
Hub for
Elevation AMSL52 m / 171 ft
Coordinates63°5906N 22°3620W / 63.98500°N 22.60556°W / 63.98500; -22.60556Coordinates: 63°5906N 22°3620W / 63.98500°N 22.60556°W / 63.98500; -22.60556
Location in Iceland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 3,054 10,020 Asphalt
10/28 3,065 10,056 Asphalt
Passengers (2017)8,755,352
Passengers change 16-1728.3%
Cargo (2017)56,101 tonnes
Sources:[1] AIP Iceland at ICAA[2]
Statistics: Isavia Limited[3][4]

Keflavík International Airport (Icelandic: Keflavíkurflugvöllur) (IATA: KEF, ICAO: BIKF), also known as ReykjavíkKeflavík 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).[citation needed] 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

Originally, the airport was built by the United States military during World War II, as a replacement for a small British landing strip at Garđur to the north. It consisted of two separate two-runway airfields, built simultaneously just 4 km apart. Patterson Field in the south-east opened in 1942 despite being partly incomplete. It was named after a young pilot who died in Iceland. Meeks Field to the north-west opened on March 23, 1943. It was named after another young pilot, George Meeks, who died on the Reykjavík airfield. Patterson Field was closed after the war, but Meeks Field and the adjoining structures were returned to Iceland's control and were renamed Naval Air Station Keflavik, for the nearby town of Keflavík. In 1951, the U.S. military returned to the airport under a defense agreement between Iceland and the U.S. signed on 5 May 1951.[5]

Development since the 1950s

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.[6]

The presence of foreign military forces in Iceland under the NATO sponsored IcelandU.S. Defense Agreement of 1951 was controversial in Iceland, which had no indigenous military forces other than the Icelandic Coast Guard.[7] 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, who later became the first female President of Iceland.[8]

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 Keflavík) being developed by Kadeco has been named Ásbrú to reflect its new role. The airport is in the little village named Sandgerđi, but the runway leads to Keflavík.[citation needed]

The two 3,000-metre-long (10,000 ft) and 61-metre-wide (200 ft) runways are large enough to support NASA's Space Shuttle as well as 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.[9] The airport is also an important emergency landing runway for large aircraft in transatlantic operation in the ETOPS system, which requires aircraft to always have less than a certain distance from a suitable landing site.[10] For many two-engine aircraft this is two or three hours with malfunction in one engine, so crossing the Atlantic Ocean would not have been possible for many two-engine aircraft if this airport had not existed.[citation needed]


The terminal is named after Leif Erikson who was the first European to arrive in North America[11] (Flugstöđ Leifs Eiríkssonar [is], "Leif Erikson Air Terminal"). It was opened in April 1987[12] 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.[13] The expansion added 7 gates.[14] There are also plans to add a third runway.[15]

Airlines and destinations


Although the population of Iceland is only about 350,000, 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[16] 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 Connect flights to Greenland); domestic flights and flights to Greenland are operated from Reykjavík's domestic airport.

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services to and from Keflavík:[17]

airBaltic Seasonal: Riga
Air Canada Seasonal: MontréalTrudeau, TorontoPearson
Air Greenland Seasonal: Ilulissat, Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk
Air Iceland Connect Seasonal: Akureyri, Kangerlussuaq, Kulusuk
American Airlines Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth
Atlantic Airways Seasonal: Vágar
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
British Airways LondonHeathrow
Seasonal: LondonCity
Czech Airlines Seasonal: Prague
Delta Air Lines New YorkJFK
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
easyJet Edinburgh, LondonGatwick, LondonLuton, Manchester
Seasonal: BelfastInternational, Bristol, LondonStansted
easyJet Switzerland Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich
Eurowings Seasonal: Hamburg
Finnair Helsinki
Iberia Express Seasonal: Madrid
Icelandair Amsterdam, Bergen, BerlinTegel, Boston, Brussels, ChicagoO'Hare, Copenhagen, Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth (ends 6 March 2019),[18] Dublin, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, LondonGatwick, LondonHeathrow, Manchester, Munich, New YorkJFK, Newark, Orlando, OsloGardermoen, ParisCharles de Gaulle, ParisOrly, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, StockholmArlanda, Tampa, TorontoPearson, Vancouver, WashingtonDulles, Zürich
Seasonal: Anchorage, Billund, Cleveland, Edmonton, Geneva, Gothenburg, Halifax, Hamburg, Kansas City, Madrid, MilanMalpensa, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MontréalTrudeau, Philadelphia, Portland (OR)
Seasonal charter: Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, TenerifeSouth, Verona
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Seasonal: Munich
Luxair Seasonal: Luxembourg
Norwegian Air Shuttle Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, OsloGardermoen, RomeFiumicino (ends 30 March 2019)
Seasonal: Bergen, LondonGatwick, StockholmArlanda
S7 Airlines Seasonal: MoscowDomodedovo
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, OsloGardermoen
Seasonal: Stockholm-Arlanda (begins 30 June 2019)[19]
Transavia France Seasonal: ParisOrly
TUI Airways[20] Seasonal: Bristol, East Midlands, LondonGatwick, Manchester
United Airlines Seasonal: Newark
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona
Wizz Air Budapest, Gdask, Katowice, LondonLuton, Riga, Vienna, Vilnius, WarsawChopin, Wrocaw
WOW air[21] Amsterdam, Baltimore, Barcelona, BerlinSchönefeld, Boston, Brussels, Copenhagen, Detroit, Dublin, Frankfurt, LondonGatwick (ends 30 March 2019),[22] LondonStansted, MilanMalpensa, MontréalTrudeau, Newark, ParisCharles de Gaulle, TenerifeSouth, TorontoPearson, WarsawChopin
Seasonal: Alicante, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Gran Canaria, Lyon, Salzburg, StockholmArlanda, Tel AvivBen Gurion
Bluebird Cargo[23] Ličge, Dublin
Icelandair Cargo[24] East Midlands, Ličge


Busiest destinations
Busiest routes to/from Keflavík (2017)[25]
Rank Airport Passengers Operator(s)
1 Copenhagen 542,544 Icelandair, SAS, WOW Air
2 LondonGatwick 477,561 easyJet, Icelandair, Norwegian, TUI Airways, WOW Air
3 Amsterdam 405,685 Icelandair, WOW Air
4 ParisCharles de Gaulle 390,711 Icelandair, WOW Air
5 LondonHeathrow 335,716 British Airways, Icelandair
6 Boston 328,982 Icelandair, WOW Air
7 OsloGardermoen 301,851 Icelandair, Norwegian, SAS
8 TorontoPearson 283,563 Air Canada, Icelandair, WOW Air
9 Frankfurt 282,167 Icelandair, Lufthansa, WOW Air
10 New YorkJFK 279,292 Delta, Icelandair, WOW Air
11 StockholmArlanda 246,810 Icelandair, WOW Air
12 Newark 232,353 Icelandair, WOW Air
13 Manchester 188,539 easyJet, Icelandair, TUI Airways
14 Helsinki 187,560 Finnair, Icelandair
15 WashingtonDulles 162,454 Icelandair
16 Los Angeles 150,717 WOW Air
17 SeattleTacoma 147,892 Icelandair
18 Munich 145,930 Icelandair, Lufthansa
19 ChicagoO'Hare 144,989 Icelandair, WOW Air
20 San Francisco 144,974 Icelandair, WOW Air
Passenger numbers
Year Passengers[26] 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%
2016 6,821,358 +40.4%
2017 8,755,352 +28.3%


Transport between the airport and downtown Reykjavik is 50 kilometres (31 mi) away on Route 41, which opened in 2008. Buses are operated by Airport Express, Flybus, and Strćtó bs to Reykjavík.[27] Taxis are available outside the terminal. Rental cars are available from various companies.[28] Iceland has no railways but a connection from the airport to Reykjavik is variously discussed as a potential high speed rail project.

Accidents and incidents


  1. ^ "Vísir Enn eitt metiđ slegiđ í fjölda farţega sem fara um Keflavíkurflugvöll". Visir.is.
  2. ^ a b "BIKF Keflavík" (PDF). Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration.
  3. ^ "2012 Passenger Statistics". Kefairport.is. Isavia Limited. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Cargo Statistics 2012". Kefairport.is. Isavia Limited. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  5. ^ "U.S. Government Debated Secret Nuclear Deployments in Iceland". National Security Archive. George Washington University. 15 August 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Paul (2011-08-01). Waking Up In Iceland. Bobcat Books. ISBN 9780857124463.
  7. ^ Kochis, Daniel; Slattery, Brian (21 Jun 2016). "Iceland: Outsized Importance for Transatlantic Security". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 9 Jan 2018.
  8. ^ Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri (1997). Changing Differences: Women and the Shaping of American Foreign Policy, 1917-1994. Rutgers University Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0813524498.
  9. ^ "Concorde to Iceland The Ultimate Day Trip Trailer Plato Video". YouTube. 21 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Annex 6 Operation of Aircraft" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  11. ^ Read description and sources to his life and discovery in Leif Erikson
  12. ^ Saga og menning, Keflavik Airport website.
  13. ^ "Hugmyndir um ađ reisa nýja flugstöđ" (in Icelandic). ruv. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  14. ^ "Metfjöldi farţega á Keflavíkurflugvelli í fyrra Mikil aukning fjórđa áriđ í röđ". Isavia.is.
  15. ^ "Hugmyndir um nýja flugbraut á Keflavíkurflugvelli" (in Icelandic). visir. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ kefairport.is Timetables retrieved 1 November 2016
  18. ^ https://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/282019/icelandair-closes-dallas-bookings-from-march-2019/
  19. ^ "SAS presents its 2019 Summer Program - 6 new destinations and 17 new direct routes". www.sasgroup.net.
  20. ^ "Flight Timetable - TUI Airways". www.tui.co.uk.
  21. ^ "WOW air route map". Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  22. ^ https://www.bishopsstortfordindependent.co.uk/news/new-boost-for-flights-to-north-america-from-stansted-9057547/
  23. ^ "Daily Schedule - Bluebird Cargo". www.bluebird.is.
  24. ^ icelandaircargo.com - Flight schedule retrieved 28 October 2018
  25. ^ "Database Eurostat". ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  26. ^ "2010 - Kefairport.com". kefairport.is. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  27. ^ "Airport Shuttle from Keflavík Airport, Iceland - Keflavík International Airport - Kefairport.com". kefairport.is. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  28. ^ "Car Rental/Car Hire at Keflavík International Airport, Iceland - Kefairport.com". kefairport.is. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  29. ^ "Accident: Sukhoi SU95 at Keflavik on Jul 21st 2013, belly landing". Avherald.com.
  30. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. March 2016.
  31. ^ "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 195078". Aviation Safety Network. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.

External links

Media related to Keflavík International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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