Reykjavík Domestic Airport
|Reykjavík Airport from the Perlan hill. The control tower atop a building is visible on the left and the larger Loftleiðir Hotel on the right. The airfield extends behind them.|
|IATA: RKV – ICAO: BIRK
|Elevation AMSL||45 ft / 14 m|
|Sources: AIP Iceland|
Reykjavík Airport (Icelandic: Reykjavíkurflugvöllur, (IATA: RKV, ICAO: BIRK) is the chiefly domestic airport serving Reykjavík, Iceland, two kilometres from the city centre. Possessing rather short runways, it normally only serves flights within Iceland and to Greenland and the Faroe Islands, and small international charters, ferry flights over the Atlantic and private flights. When weather conditions are not good enough in Keflavík Airport for landings, aircraft like the Boeing 757-200 and smaller divert to Reykjavik Airport.
Most international flights use Keflavík International Airport, 50 km out of town, which can handle practically all aircraft. Reykjavík Airport is the main hub of Air Iceland and Eagle Air. Of the three runways, currently two are active all year round - the shortest runway, 06/24, is usually used only in winter. Takeoffs from 24 and landings on 24 and 06 are allowed, but takeoffs from 06 are forbidden because of safety and noise. Reykjavík Airport is owned and operated by the state enterprise Isavia.
The first flight from the airport area was September 3, 1919, with the takeoff of an Avro 504, the first aeroplane in Iceland. Until 1937 there were experiments with airline operations in Vatnsmýri but with the foundation of Iceland's oldest airline, Flugfélag Akureyrar (now Icelandair) in Akureyri in 1938, operations began in the area and in March 1940 scheduled flights started when Flugfélag Akureyrar moved its hub from Akureyri to Reykjavík (and changed its name to Flugfélag Íslands)
The current airport was built by the British army during World War II on the south coast of Reykjavík peninsula, then a small town. Construction began in October 1940, when the airport had only a grass surface. The Black Watch regiment built the first runway, constructing the piste over sunken oil barrels. On July 6, 1946, the British handed the airport operation over to the Icelandic government and since then it has been operated by the Icelandic Civil Aviation Authority (now Flugstoðir).
The city has grown around it and it is now located in the western part of the city. This location is considered inconvenient by many, for noise and safety reasons and because it takes up a lot of valuable space in a central location. This central location is also the reason why many wish to keep the airport where it is, as it is a vital link between the capital and the sparsely populated rest of the country. There is an ongoing debate about the future of the airport, with the three options being keeping the airport as it is, building a new one in the Reykjavík area, or closing it and moving domestic flights to Keflavík. The first choice would make it impossible to develop the highly valued land. The second choice would be most expensive, and the third one would hurt the domestic service, reducing access to vital institutions in the capital such as hospitals. The third option would give better connections between other parts of the country and the rest of the world.
Renovation of the airport started in 2000 and lasted two years. This was followed by a referendum in 2001, with 49.3% of the votes for moving the airport out of the city centre, and 48.1% votes for it remaining in place until 2016, when the current urban plan expires.
After renovation, the width of runways 01/19 and 13/31 is 45 m and 06/24 30m, with visual approach for runways 01 and 31, while runway 19 has ILS CAT I/NBD-DME approach and runway 13 has LLZ-DME/NDB-DME approach. The lights for the runways were updated with LIH Wedge for all runways.
Terminals and destinations
There are two terminals: the main terminal handles both international and domestic traffic for Air Iceland, and a smaller terminal serves domestic and international business flights for Eagle Air.
|Air Iceland||Akureyri, Egilsstaðir, Ilulissat, Ísafjörður, Kulusuk, Nuuk
|Atlantic Airways||Sørvágur (Faroe Islands)|
|Eagle Air||Bíldudalur, Gjögur, Húsavík, Höfn, Vestmannaeyjar|
|Mýflug||Ambulance and charter flights|
When changing between domestic and international flights a 50 km bus transfer between Reykjavík Airport and Keflavík International Airport is usually needed, and at least three hours between flights is recommended.
Icelandair Group and Icelandair have a head office at the airport. Air Iceland and Isavia also have their head offices on the airport property. When Loftleiðir was in operation, its head office was at the airport.
Accidents and incidents
- BIRK AIP from the Icelandic CAA
- Aviation Fact File 2011 from Isavia
- "Location." Icelandair Group. Retrieved on 28 December 2009.
- Home. Air Iceland. Retrieved on 13 February 2011. "© Air Iceland - Reykjavik airport - 101 Reykjavik"
- "Home." Isavia. Retrieved on 9 September 2010. "Isavia · Reykjavik Airport"
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 13 April 1967. 578. "Head Office: Reykjavík Airport, Iceland."
- "N54605 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 24 July 2010.