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Keflavík 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. The airport is 1.7 nautical miles (3.1 km; 2.0 mi) west of Keflavík[2] and 50 km (31 mi) southwest of Reykjavík. The airport has three runways, two of which are in use, and the airport area is about 25 km2 (9.7 sq mi).[citation needed] Most international journeys to or from Iceland pass through this airport.

Keflavik Airport

Keflavíkurflugvöllur logo.svg
SSJ100 Keflavik runways (5160518757).jpg
Airport typePublic / Military
Owner/OperatorIsavia Limited
ServesGreater Reykjavík Area, Iceland
LocationSandgerði, Iceland
Hub for
Elevation AMSL52 m / 171 ft
Coordinates63°59′06″N 22°36′20″W / 63.98500°N 22.60556°W / 63.98500; -22.60556Coordinates: 63°59′06″N 22°36′20″W / 63.98500°N 22.60556°W / 63.98500; -22.60556
KEF/BIKF is located in Iceland
Location in Iceland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 3,054 10,020 Asphalt
10/28 3,065 10,056 Asphalt
Passengers (2018)9,804,388
Passengers change 17-18Increase12.0%
Cargo (2018)59,263 tonnes
Sources:[1] AIP Iceland at ICAA[2]
Statistics: Isavia Limited[3][4]

The main carrier at Keflavík is Icelandair, which has the airport as its main hub. The airport is almost exclusively used for international flights; most domestic flights use the much smaller Reykjavík Airport, which lies 3 km (1.9 mi) from Reykjavík's city centre, although seasonal flights from Akureyri fly to Keflavík. Keflavík Airport is operated by Isavia, a government enterprise.



Early yearsEdit

Originally, the airport was built by the United States military during World War II, as a replacement for a small British landing strip at Garður to the north. It consisted of two separate two-runway airfields, built simultaneously just 4 km apart. Patterson Field in the south-east opened in 1942 despite being partly incomplete. It was named after a young pilot who died in Iceland. Meeks Field to the north-west opened on March 23, 1943. It was named after another young pilot, George Meeks, who died on the Reykjavík airfield. Patterson Field was closed after the war, but Meeks Field and the adjoining structures were returned to Iceland's control and were renamed Naval Air Station Keflavik, for the nearby town of Keflavík. In 1951, the U.S. military returned to the airport under a defense agreement between Iceland and the U.S. signed on 5 May 1951.[5]

Development since the 1950sEdit

With the reestablishment of the military air base at Keflavík during the 1950s, the air terminal found itself in the middle of a secure military zone. Travelers had to pass through military check points to reach their flights, until 1987, when the civilian terminal was relocated.[6]

The presence of foreign military forces in Iceland under the NATO-sponsored Iceland–U.S. Defense Agreement of 1951 was controversial in Iceland, which had no indigenous military forces other than the Icelandic Coast Guard.[7] 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.[8]

The two 3,000-metre-long (10,000 ft) and 61-metre-wide (200 ft) runways are large enough to support NASA's Space Shuttle as well as the Antonov An-225. On 29 June 1999, Concorde G-BOAA flew from Heathrow Airport to Reykjavík (Keflavik airport). The Concorde had been there earlier.[9] The airport is also an important emergency landing runway for large aircraft in transatlantic operation in the ETOPS system, which requires aircraft to always have less than a certain distance from a suitable landing site.[10]

The airport was used as a hub by WOW air until it ceased operations on 28 March 2019.[11]


The terminal is named after Leif Erikson who was the first European to arrive in North America[12] (Flugstöð Leifs Eiríkssonar [is], "Leif Erikson Air Terminal"). It was opened in April 1987[13] 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. In 2016, the current terminal was expanded.[14] The expansion added 7 gates.[15] There are also plans to add a third runway.[16]

Airlines and destinationsEdit


Although the population of Iceland is only about 350,000, there are scheduled flights to and from numerous locations across North America and Europe. The largest carrier operating out of Keflavik is Icelandair. WOW air was the second largest Icelandic carrier and the second largest at Keflavík, following its acquisition of Iceland Express on 23 October 2012,[17] until it ceased operations on 28 March 2019.[11] The airport only handles international flights (except for flights to Akureyri in connection with certain Air Iceland Connect flights to Greenland); domestic flights and flights to Greenland are operated from Reykjavík's domestic airport.

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services to and from Keflavík:[18]

airBaltic Seasonal: Riga
Air Canada Rouge[19] Seasonal: Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
Air Greenland Seasonal: Ilulissat, Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk
Air Iceland Connect Seasonal: Akureyri, Kangerlussuaq, Kulusuk
American Airlines Seasonal: Dallas/Fort Worth
Atlantic Airways Seasonal: Vágar
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna
British Airways London–Heathrow
Seasonal: London–City
Czech Airlines Seasonal: Prague
Delta Air Lines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK
easyJet Edinburgh, London–Gatwick, London–Luton, Manchester
Seasonal: Belfast–International, Bristol, London–Stansted
easyJet Switzerland Seasonal: Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich
Eurowings Seasonal: Cologne/Bonn, Hamburg
Finnair Helsinki
Iberia Express Madrid
Icelandair[20] Amsterdam, Bergen, Berlin–Tegel, Boston, Brussels, Chicago–O'Hare, Copenhagen, Denver, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, London–Gatwick, London–Heathrow, Manchester, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Munich, New York–JFK, Newark, Orlando, Oslo–Gardermoen, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Stockholm–Arlanda, Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver, Washington–Dulles, Zürich
Seasonal: Anchorage, Billund, Edmonton, Geneva, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Kansas City, Madrid, Milan–Malpensa, Montréal–Trudeau, Philadelphia, Portland (OR)
Seasonal charter: Alicante,[21] Gran Canaria,[22] Tenerife–South[23]
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Seasonal: Munich
Neos[24] Seasonal: Alicante, Milan–Malpensa
Seasonal charter: Chania,[25] Málaga,[26] Tenerife–South[23]
Norwegian Air Shuttle Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria (begins 30 October 2019),[27] Madrid, Oslo–Gardermoen, Tenerife–South (begins 27 October 2019)[28]
Seasonal: Bergen
S7 Airlines Seasonal: Moscow–Domodedovo
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Oslo–Gardermoen
Seasonal: Stockholm–Arlanda
Transavia Amsterdam
Transavia France Paris–Orly
TUI Airways[29] Seasonal: Bristol, London–Gatwick, Manchester
United Airlines Seasonal: Newark
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona
Wizz Air Budapest, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków (begins 16 September 2019),[30] London–Luton, Riga, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw–Chopin, Wrocław


Bluebird Cargo[31] Dublin, Liège
Icelandair Cargo[32] East Midlands, Liège


Aerial view of the main buildings
Main waiting area

Passenger numbersEdit

Year Passengers[33] Change
2004 1,883,725
2005 2,101,679 +11.6%
2006 2,272,917 +8.1%
2007 2,429,144 +6.9%
2008 2,193,434 -9.7%
2009 1,832,944 -16.4%
2010 2,065,188 +12.7%
2011 2,474,806 +19.8%
2012 2,764,026 +11.7%
2013 3,209,848 +16.1%
2014 3,867,425 +20.5%
2015 4,855,505 +25.5%
2016 6,821,358 +40.4%
2017 8,755,352 +28.3%
2018 9,804,388 +12.0%

Busiest destinationsEdit

Busiest routes to/from Keflavik (2018)[34]
Rank Airport Passengers Operator(s)
1   Copenhagen 582,199 Icelandair, SAS
2   London–Gatwick 467,032 easyJet, Icelandair, Norwegian, TUI Airways
3   Amsterdam 449,590 Icelandair, Transavia
4   Paris–Charles de Gaulle 443,312 Icelandair
5   London–Heathrow 378,029 British Airways, Icelandair
6   Frankfurt 355,520 Icelandair, Lufthansa
7   Boston 330,792 Icelandair
8   Newark 327,046 Icelandair, United
9   New York–JFK 323,781 Delta, Icelandair
10   Oslo–Gardermoen 313,713 Icelandair, Norwegian, SAS
11   Toronto–Pearson 289,038 Air Canada, Icelandair
12   Chicago–O'Hare 252,602 Icelandair
13   Stockholm–Arlanda 247,083 Icelandair
14   Dublin 221,321 Icelandair
15   Helsinki 207,270 Finnair, Icelandair
16   Manchester 204,082 easyJet, Icelandair, TUI Airways
17   London–Luton 196,072 Icelandair
18   Baltimore 195,283 Icelandair
19   San Francisco 174,632 Icelandair
20   Berlin–Tegel 167,907 Icelandair


Transport between the airport and downtown Reykjavik is a 50 kilometres (31 mi) journey on Route 41. Buses are operated by Airport Express, Flybus, and Strætó bs to Reykjavík.[35] Taxis are available outside the terminal. Rental cars are available from various companies.[36]

Accidents and incidentsEdit


  1. ^ "Vísir – Enn eitt metið slegið í fjölda farþega sem fara um Keflavíkurflugvöll".
  2. ^ a b "BIKF – Keflavík" (PDF). Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration.
  3. ^ "2012 Passenger Statistics". Isavia Limited. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Cargo Statistics 2012". Isavia Limited. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  5. ^ "U.S. Government Debated Secret Nuclear Deployments in Iceland". National Security Archive. George Washington University. 15 August 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Paul (1 August 2011). Waking Up In Iceland. Bobcat Books. ISBN 9780857124463.
  7. ^ Kochis, Daniel; Slattery, Brian (21 June 2016). "Iceland: Outsized Importance for Transatlantic Security". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  8. ^ Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri (1997). Changing Differences: Women and the Shaping of American Foreign Policy, 1917-1994. Rutgers University Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0813524498.
  9. ^ "Concorde to Iceland – The Ultimate Day Trip Trailer – Plato Video". YouTube. 21 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Annex 6 – Operation of Aircraft" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  11. ^ a b "End of Operation of WOW AIR". Icelandic Transport Authority. WOW AIR has ceased operation. All WOW AIR flights have been cancelled.
  12. ^ Read description and sources to his life and discovery in Leif Erikson
  13. ^ Saga og menning, Keflavik Airport website.
  14. ^ "Hugmyndir um að reisa nýja flugstöð" (in Icelandic). ruv. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Metfjöldi farþega á Keflavíkurflugvelli í fyrra – Mikil aukning fjórða árið í röð".
  16. ^ "Hugmyndir um nýja flugbraut á Keflavíkurflugvelli" (in Icelandic). visir. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ – Timetables retrieved 5 July 2019
  19. ^ Liu, Jim. "Air Canada moves Iceland service to rouge in June 2019". Routesonline. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  20. ^ - Destinations retrieved 13 April 2019
  21. ^ "Flight schedule Alicante".
  22. ^ "Flight schedule Las Palmas".
  23. ^ a b "Flight schedule Tenerife".
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Flight schedule Chania".
  26. ^ "Flight schedule Málaga".
  27. ^ Liu, Jim (20 June 2019). "Norwegian adds new Gran Canaria routes in W19". Routesonline. UBM (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Hefja áætlunarflug til Tenerife og Las Palmas" [Starting of scheduled flights to Tenerife and Las Palmas]. (in Icelandic). Árvakur hf. 13 June 2019.
  29. ^ "Flight Timetable - TUI Airways".
  30. ^ Liu, Jim. "Wizz Air further expands Polish network in S19". Routesonline. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Daily Schedule - Bluebird Cargo".
  32. ^ - Flight schedule retrieved 28 October 2018
  33. ^ "2010 -". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  34. ^ "Database – Eurostat". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Airport Shuttle from Keflavík Airport, Iceland - Keflavík International Airport -". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  36. ^ "Car Rental/Car Hire at Keflavík International Airport, Iceland -". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  37. ^ "Accident: Sukhoi SU95 at Keflavik on Jul 21st 2013, belly landing".
  38. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. March 2016.
  39. ^ "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 195078". Aviation Safety Network. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.

External linksEdit