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Keflavík International 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. The airport is 1.7 nautical miles (3.1 km; 2.0 mi) west of Keflavík 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). Most international journeys to or from Iceland pass through this airport.

The main carriers at Keflavík are Icelandair and WOW air, each of which has the airport as its main hub. The airport is almost exclusively used for international flights; most domestic flights use 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.

Keflavík International Airport
Keflavíkurflugvöllur logo.svg
SSJ100 Keflavik runways (5160518757).jpg
Airport type Public / Military
Owner/Operator Isavia Limited
Serves Greater Reykjavík Area, Iceland
Location Sandgerði, Iceland
Hub for
  • Icelandair
  • WOW air
Elevation AMSL 52 m / 171 ft
Coordinates 63°59′06″N
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 (2017) 8,755,352
Passengers change 16-17 28.3%
Cargo (2017) 56,101 tonnes


Early years

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.

Development since the 1950s

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.

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. 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.

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 Coast Guard and the Keflavík Airport Development Corporation (Kadeco), respectively. The Coast Guard maintains hangars for military aircraft as well as ammunition depots, air defence radars and other military equipment for national defence. The former military encampment area (U.S. Naval Air Station Keflavík) 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 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 (Keflavík airport). The Concorde had been there earlier. 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. For many two-engine aircraft this is two or three hours with malfunction in one engine, so crossing the Atlantic Ocean would not have been possible for many two-engine aircraft if this airport had not existed.


Main waiting room

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

Airlines and destinations


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 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. 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:

Airlines Destinations
airBaltic Seasonal: Riga
Air Canada 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 New York–JFK
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
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: Hamburg
Finnair Helsinki
Iberia Express Seasonal: Madrid
Icelandair Amsterdam, Bergen, Berlin–Tegel, Boston, Brussels, Chicago–O’Hare, Copenhagen, Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth (ends 6 March 2019), Dublin,Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, London–Gatwick, London–Heathrow, Manchester, Munich, New York–JFK, Newark, Orlando, Oslo–Gardermoen, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Stockholm–Arlanda, Tampa, Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver, Washington–Dulles, Zürich
Seasonal: Anchorage, Billund, Cleveland, Edmonton, Geneva, Gothenburg, Halifax, Hamburg, Kansas City, Madrid, Milan–Malpensa, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montréal–Trudeau, Philadelphia, Portland (OR)
Seasonal charter: Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Tenerife–South, Verona Seasonal charter: Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Seasonal: Munich
Luxair Seasonal: Luxembourg
Norwegian Air Shuttle Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Oslo–Gardermoen, Rome–Fiumicino (ends 30 March 2019)
Seasonal: Bergen, London–Gatwick, Stockholm–Arlanda
S7 Airlines Seasonal: Moscow–Domodedovo
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Oslo–Gardermoen
Seasonal: Stockholm-Arlanda (begins 30 June 2019)
Transavia France Seasonal: Paris–Orly
TUI Airways Seasonal: Bristol, East Midlands, London–Gatwick, Manchester
United Airlines Seasonal: Newark
Vueling Seasonal: Barcelona
Wizz Air Budapest, Gdańsk, Katowice, London–Luton, Riga, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw–Chopin, Wrocław
WOW air Amsterdam, Baltimore, Barcelona, Berlin–Schönefeld, Boston, Brussels, Copenhagen, Detroit, Dublin, Frankfurt, London–Gatwick (ends 30 March 2019), London–Stansted (resumes 2 April 2019), Milan–Malpensa, Montréal–Trudeau, Newark, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Tenerife–South, Toronto–Pearson, Warsaw–Chopin
Seasonal: Alicante, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Gran Canaria, Lyon, Salzburg, Stockholm–Arlanda, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion


Airlines Destinations
Bluebird Cargo Liège, Dublin
Icelandair Cargo East Midlands, Liège


Busiest destinations

Busiest routes to/from Keflavík (2017)
Rank Airport Passengers Operator(s)
1 Copenhagen 542,544 Icelandair, SAS, WOW Air
2 London–Gatwick 477,561 easyJet, Icelandair, Norwegian, TUI Airways, WOW Air
3 Amsterdam 405,685 Icelandair, WOW Air
4 Paris–Charles de Gaulle 390,711 Icelandair, WOW Air
5 London–Heathrow 335,716 British Airways, Icelandair
6 Boston 328,982 Icelandair, WOW Air
7 Oslo–Gardermoen 301,851 Icelandair, Norwegian, SAS
8 Toronto–Pearson 283,563 Air Canada, Icelandair, WOW Air
9 Frankfurt 282,167 Icelandair, Lufthansa, WOW Air
10 New York–JFK 279,292 Delta, Icelandair, WOW Air
11 Stockholm–Arlanda 246,810 Icelandair, WOW Air
12 Newark 232,353 Icelandair, WOW Air
13 Manchester 188,539 easyJet, Icelandair, TUI Airways
14 Helsinki 187,560 Finnair, Icelandair
15 Washington–Dulles 162,454 Icelandair
16 Los Angeles 150,717 WOW Air
17 Seattle–Tacoma 147,892 Icelandair
18 Munich 145,930 Icelandair, Lufthansa
19 Chicago–O’Hare 144,989 Icelandair, WOW Air
20 San Francisco 144,974 Icelandair, WOW Air

Passenger numbers

Year Passengers 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%


Transport between the airport and downtown Reykjavik is 50 kilometres (31 mi) away on Route 41, which opened in 2008. Buses are operated by Airport Express, Flybus, and Strætó bs to Reykjavík. Taxis are available outside the terminal. Rental cars are available from various companies. Iceland has no railways but a connection from the airport to Reykjavik is variously discussed as a potential high speed rail project.

Accidents and incidents

  • On 21 July 2013, a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner, prototype aircraft 97005, made a belly landing during a test flight. The cause was a crew mistake due to fatigue. They operated the plane manually in order to simulate failures.
  • On 28 April 2017, a Primera Air Boeing 737-800 skidded off an icy runway.
Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport

Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport

Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport

Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport

Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport

Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport

Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport

Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport

Keflavík International Airport picture
Keflavík International Airport


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General Info
Country Iceland
Time UTC 0
Latitude 63.985000
63 59' 06.00" N
Longitude -22.605556
022 36' 20.00" W
Elevation 171 feet
52 meters
Type Joint (Civil and Military)
Magnetic Variation 017 W (01/06)
Beacon Yes
Operating Hours 24 HOUR OPERATIONS
International Clearance Status Airport of Entry

TWR 118.3
(MIL TAF uses KQNT ident sent vis auto wx network.)
500R 8364R
GND 121.9
DEP 119.3
ATIS 128.3
APP 119.3
ATOC 131.1
AIR GND 131.9

Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
02/20 10019 x 197 feet
3054 x 60 meters
11/29 10056 x 197 feet
3065 x 60 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
NDB OK OSCAR KILO - 364 3.9 NM 199.2

Fuel JP-8, SemiKeroscene MIL Spec T-83133, without icing inhibitor

100/130 MIL Spec, low lead, aviation gasoline (BLUE)
Oil O-128, 1100,(Dispersant)Reciprocating Engine Oil(MIL L 22851 Type II)

O-133, 1010, jet Engine Oil (MIL l 6081)

O-148, MIL L 7808 (Synthetic Base), Turboprop/Turboshaft Engine

O-156, MIL L 23699 (Synthetic Base)Turboprop/Turboshaft Engine

SOAP Spectrometric Oil Analysis Program
Other Fluids ADI, Anti-Deonation Injection Fluid-Reciprocating Engine Aircraft

SP, Single Point Refueling

PRESAIR, Air Compressors rated 3,000PSI or more

LHOX, Low and high pressure oxygen servicing

LOX, Liquid oxygen servicing

OX, Indicates oxygen servicing when type of servicing is unknown

LPNIT, Low pressure nitrogen servicing

CAUTION Abandoned afld 3 NM SE of Keflavik. Bird haz May-Sep. Unctl veh/pedestrian cros SE corner mil ramp and Twy S-1, not vis fr twr. Pilots ctc GND to have veh tfc lgt turned to RED when apch cros and advs when clear cros. Twy C2 clsd to mil acft. Twy C-1 clsd. 92' tmpry crane 2000' fr Rwy 11 thld/4855' S of cntrline.
FUEL (NC-A1, JP8). Ctc ATOC 131.1.
JASU 1(A/M47A-4), 2(A/M32A-108).
LGT Rot Bcn is secured when wind exceeds 40K.
MISC Keflavik Intl is a level 3, SCR/Cooridinated arpt. Acft arr/dep civil side rqr slot times via SIMMS format. See MU-Meter rwy BA expressed in friction coefficient for ea third of rwy. Four eng acft use idle or secure outboard eng for taxi. AMC acft mnt SOF 131.1 dur all gnd opr. Rwy 07-25 clsd. All publ inst proc will be withdrawn from DoD FLIP upon base closure 30 Sep 06.
NS ABTMT See AP/2 Supplementary Arpt Rmk.
OIL O-128-133-148-156 SOAP
RSTD PPR rqr 72 hr PN and will be apv on a case by case basis. Tran acft not in support of NASKEF closure, arr/dep outside mil ramp hrs, will not be issued a PPR. DSN 450-6202/4494, C011-354-425-6202/4494, METRO DSN 450-4302. Fr 1600-1800Z dly, W bound flt ltd to 1 dep ev 5 min. See AP/2 Supplementary Arpt Rmk-Transient.
TFC PAT VFR tfc pat alt 1200'.
TRAN ALERT No tran maint avbl. Hgr space extremely ltd.

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