Keflavík International Airport
|Keflavík International Airport
|IATA: KEF – ICAO: BIKF
|Airport type||Public / Military|
|Elevation AMSL||171 ft / 52 m|
|Sources: AIP Iceland at ICAA
Statistics: Keflavik Airport
Keflavík International Airport (Icelandic: Keflavíkurflugvöllur) (IATA: KEF, ICAO: BIKF), also known as Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport, is the largest airport in Iceland and the country’s main hub for international transportation. It is situated 1.7 NM (3.1 km; 2.0 mi) west of Keflavík and 50 km (31 mi) south-west of Reykjavík. The airport has two runways 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, who make the airport their main hub. The airport is almost exclusively an international airport; most domestic flights are flown from Reykjavík Airport, which lies within 3 km (1.9 mi) from Reykjavík’s city centre, although seasonally flights from Akureyri are flown to Keflavík. Keflavík Airport is operated by Isavia, a government enterprise.
The airport was built by the United States military during World War II. The U.S. Army Air Forces desired an airfield at Keflavík capable of operating heavy bombers, in addition to a fighter strip. Funds were allocated in January 1942 and construction began on the fighter strip (known as Patterson Field) in May. Two runways of the fighter field were in use by July when Operation Bolero commenced. The bomber field, known as Meeks Field, was begun in July by military and civilian contractor crews, but the civilian contractor was soon relieved by the newly formed U.S. Navy construction battalions Seabees. Meek Field was dedicated on 23 March 1943 and by May stopover service for transatlantic military flights was in operation.
During the war the airport complex only served military purposes, but at war's end it became a refueling stop for the quickly developing international civil aviation crossing the Atlantic. At the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1947, the airport was handed over to Iceland and renamed Keflavík Airport. The Airport was operated jointly by Iceland and the United States for transiting civil and military flights. U.S. forces returned to Keflavík in 1951 under the auspices of NATO (see Naval Air Station Keflavik) and joint operation continued until 30 September 2006, when the military installation was handed over to the government of Iceland.
With the re-construction of the military base at Keflavík during the 1950s, the air terminal found itself positioned in the middle of the base. International travelers thus had to enter military check points to reach their flights for most of the time, which gave the feeling that the U.S. military controlled access to and from Iceland. This continued until 1987 when the civilian terminal was relocated. 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), the Icelandic Defence Agency and the Keflavík Airport Development Corporation (Kadeco), respectively. 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 Airport has one terminal named Leifur Eiríksson Air Terminal (Flugstöð Leifs Eiríkssonar), named for Leif Ericson. It was opened the 6th of April 1987 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.
Airlines and destinations
Although the population of Iceland is only about 300,000, there are scheduled flights to and from eight locations in the United States (Anchorage, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Seattle, and Washington), two in Canada (Halifax and Toronto) and 30 cities across Europe. The largest carrier operating out of Keflavík is Icelandair. On 23 October 2012 WOW air acquired Iceland Express making it the second largest Icelandic carrier and the second largest at Keflavík.
Keflavík Airport only handles international flights (except for flights to Akureyri in connection with certain Air Iceland’s flights to Greenland), domestic flights and flights to Greenland and the Faroe Islands are operated from Reykjavík’s domestic airport. When changing between domestic and international flights, a 50 km (31 mi) bus transfer is usually needed, and at least three hours time between flights is recommended.
|Air Atlanta Icelandic||Bagram, Frankfurt, Kuwait City, Luxembourg|
|Icelandair Cargo||East Midlands, Liège, Humberside, New York-JFK|
|TNT Airways||Liège, New York-JFK|
|UPS Airlines operated by Bluebird Cargo||Cologne/Bonn, Cork, Edinburgh|
Transport between the airport and Reykjavik city is by road only. The distance is 50 km. A new dual carriageway road was opened in 2008. The buses are operated by Iceland Excursions' Airport Express and Reykjavik Excursions Kynnisferðir's Flybus services. They both have a timetable adapted to the arrival and departing flights' schedule. They go to and from the Reykjavik bus terminal, taking around 45 minutes. Both companies offer a stop at the domestic airport and also provide direct stops at major hotels and hostels in the Reykjavik area through their shuttle service on request. Taxis are also available outside the terminal.
The presence of foreign military forces in Iceland under the NATO sponsored Iceland–U.S. Defense Agreement of 1951 was a controversial issue in Iceland, which had no indigenous military forces. 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.
- "BIKF – Keflavík" (PDF). Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration.
- 2011 statistics
- "Hugmyndir um að reisa nýja flugstöð" (in Icelandic). ruv. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- "Hugmyndir um nýja flugbraut á Keflavíkurflugvelli" (in Icelandic). visir. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Keflavík International Airport
- Keflavík International Airport (Icelandic)
- The Icelandic Defence Agency
- Current aviation weather for Keflavík
- Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik