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.