Icelandair wants an new airport closer to Reykjavik

Today Icelandair stands for almost two out of three departures from Keflavik International Airport. But that airport might not be the most suitable base for the airlines in the future.

Keflavik International Airport Credit: Isavia

From most international airports, airplanes fly not only to other countries but also to other cities and towns in the same country. In Iceland, this is the opposite. Keflavík International Airport, located outside of Reykjavík, is only used for international flights. About 98 percent of all tourists who come to Iceland fly to Keflavík first.

The center of domestic flight on the island, on the other hand, is in the center of Reykjavik, about 50 kilometers from Keflavík International Airport. This means that a visitor from the US or Europe who wants to get on a domestic flight must first collect their luggage, drive to Reykjavík and check in again at the Reykjavik Airport, a process that takes no less than two hours.

Icelandair, by far the biggest carrier at Keflavík International Airport, also run the biggest domestic airline, Air Iceland Connect.

Icelandair now wants to see both international flights and domestic flights come together at one new airport in Hvassahraun, located between central Reykjavik and Keflavík International Airport. 

This request by the airline was first made public earlier this Winter when the Minister of Transport and the Mayor of Reykjavík reached an agreement to explore the possibility of moving domestic flights from central Reykjavík to Hvassahraun.

This discussion came out with positive results as the future of aviation in and around Reykjavík was examined including the necessity of having two airports, so that there is always one spare if the other is closed.

Whether or not Icelandair´s wishes will be taken into account remains to be seen, but it is clear that the construction of a new international airport at Hvassahraun will be expensive. At the same time, it will also cost a lot to expand Keflavík International Airport so that it can properly handle the current and the future traffic around the airport.

Until the conclusion is reached on airport matters, tourists and residents of Northern and Eastern Iceland will continue to have to drive a long way from Keflavík International Airport or fly to Reykjavík and get to the international airport from there.