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Reykjavik Airport

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Reykjavik Airport

This article is about the domestic airport near the city centre. For the airport 50 km away that serves international flights to and from Reykjavík, see Keflavík International Airport.

Reykjavík Airport
Reykjavík Domestic Airport
Location of Airport in Iceland
Airport type Public
Owner Isavia
Serves Reykjavík
Location Reykjavík
Elevation AMSL 45 ft / 14 m
Coordinates 64°07′48″N 021°56′26″W / 64.13000°N 21.94056°W / 64.13000; -21.94056

Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 1,567 5,141 Asphalt
06/24 960 3,150 Asphalt
13/31 1,230 4,035 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 430,316
Aircraft Movements 54,037
Sources: AIP Iceland[1]

Statistics: Isavia Aviation Fact File 2011 [2]

Reykjavík Airport (Icelandic: Reykjavíkurflugvöllur, (IATA: RKVICAO: BIRK) is the chiefly domestic airport serving Reykjavík, Iceland, is one and a quarter miles (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 3 September 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 6 July 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).

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.


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 Reykjavik 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. The third option would hurt the domestic service, reducing access to vital institutions in the capital such as hospitals. but it would give better connections between Iceland and the rest of the world.

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.

Airlines Destinations
Air Arctic Sauðárkrókur
Air Iceland Akureyri, Egilsstaðir, Ilulissat, Ísafjörður, Kulusuk, Nuuk
Summer: Narsarsuaq
Atlantic Airways Vágar (Faroe Islands)
Eagle Air Bíldudalur, Gjögur, Húsavík, Höfn, Vestmannaeyjar
Mýflug Ambulance and charter flights

Atlantic Airways and Air Iceland have a codeshare agreement for flights to Vágar, Faroe Islands.

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.

Other facilities

Icelandair Group and Icelandair have a head office at the airport.[3] Air Iceland and Isavia also have their head offices on the airport property.[4][5] When Loftleiðir was in operation, its head office was at the airport.[6]

Accidents and incidents

On 27 December 1980, Douglas C-47B N54605 of Visionair International was damaged beyond repair in a storm at Reykjavik Airport.[7]



External links

Iceland portal
Aviation portal
  • Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration (English)
  • Reykjavík Airport at the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration (Icelandic)
  • Airport information for BIRK at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.
  • Current aviation weather for Reykjavík
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