Steep decline in transit passengers in Keflavík during the first months of 2019

The number of transit passengers in Keflavík Airport has dropped by 29 per cent during the first four months of 2019.

From Keflavik International Airport near Reykjavik. Credit: Isavia

The total number of transit and self-connect passengers in Keflavík Airport grew by 39% in 2018. The number of transit passengers in Keflavík Airport had been growing steadily each year since WOW air launched its North American routes in 2015. Isavia, which oversees airport operations, saw transit passengers as an opportunity for further growth, claiming that Iceland’s geographic position offered opportunities to develop Keflavík Airport as an intercontinental hub.

However, the number of transit passengers has dropped by 29 per cent during the first four months of 2019. The number of transit passengers in Keflavík in April decreased by 53% between years, falling from 254,000 in 2018 to 120,000 in 2019. This steep decline in transit passenger numbers is directly linked to WOW air’s bankruptcy.

The number of transit passengers in Keflavík Airport is likely to continue to drop; Icelandair intends to shift its focus from transit passengers to transporting international visitors to Iceland, and trans-Atlantic flights are proving to be increasingly unprofitable as competition toughens. What more, Icelandair operated on a massive loss during the first quarter of 2019.