2023 at KEF Airport


Constructions at the KEF

Some of the most exciting milestones from 2023 at Keflavík Airport include a new taxiway, opening of a new baggage hall and new borders which improve arrivals from the Schengen area.

Mike taxiway

In July 2023, a new runway was officially put into use at Keflavík Airport. The taxiway, which has been named Mike, connects the terminal's apron and runway. Mike is Isavia's first addition to the runway system, as all other additions were built by NATO or the US military.

The new taxiway is intended to increase the safety of the runway system by improving the flow of arrivals and departures. This means that airplanes will get off and onto runways earlier, increasing the capacity of the runway system and speeding up aircraft handling. The taxiway will decrease the waiting time for planes to get off the runway or take off during peak hours, and as a result, reduce the carbon footprint of planes on the ground, which is one of the airport‘s goals.

The east wing begins to take shape

A new and more spacious baggage hall was opened for passengers who landed at Keflavík Airport. This renovation is the first segment of the new east wing of the terminal, geared towards enhancing passenger facilities and overall experience.

Situated on the ground floor of a fresh extension to the terminal, the baggage hall represents the new east wing's initial phase. It features three expansive and broad baggage claim belts, with provision for adding two more in the future. Concurrently, the old baggage hall's conveyor belts will be dismantled to pave the way for an upgraded duty-free shopping area for incoming passengers.

New improved borders

A new arrival border for passengers coming in Iceland from countries outside the Schengen area was opened in June, in a temporary reusable extension. The new border will facilitate and improve the handling of passengers entering the area in accordance with new European regulations.

With the opening of the new border, passenger flow in the terminal improved considerably, and efforts have been made to avoid long queues at border control and shorten waiting times with increased efficiency, e.g. with self-service machines.

The building that was built for the new border will be used until a new and permanent facility for the Schengen external border can be established in a new connecting building that is currently being designed. In accordance with the emphasis on reuse during the development of Keflavík Airport, the building is designed in such a way that it can be taken down and used for other purposes when its role in border control ends.

Reviewed Masterplan for KEF Airport

Isavia has updated its Masterplan for Keflavik International Airport, which marks the first update since the original development plan was published. The Masterplan is reviewed and updated every five years to keep in line with changing circumstances and developments.

Valid until 2045, the current Masterplan remains largely based on the previous development plan covering 2015 to 2040.

Here you can study the development plan of Keflavík Airport in its entirety.

The east wing - our largest project

The East Wing is the largest project in Isavia's history, according to Guðmundur Daði Rúnarsson, Director of Business and Development at Isavia.

At the east wing, a stairwell is being poured for the expected gangway. Guðmundur Daði says that from each stairwell there will be two fingers out into two planes. By doing so, it is possible to extend the walkway to the airplanes and thus start check-in earlier and ensure a more even flow of passengers. Check-in is traditionally the biggest bottleneck at airports, so the stairwells increase efficiency. Then it will be possible to have either two normal planes or one wide-body jet at the stairwells, which is also an improvement.

Environmental matters

Level 3+ achieved in the ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation achieved

Keflavík International Airport's policy on climate issues, and measures to reduce the airport's carbon footprint as a whole, have received the fourth level (Level 3+) of the Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) assesses whether airports are measuring carbon emissions correctly and also evaluates the effectiveness of measures intended to reduce their carbon footprint. The goal is to reduce the environmental impact of airports by measuring, managing and reducing carbon emissions.

Isavia’s goal is for Keflavík International Airport to have net zero operation by 2030. This goal will be achieved through collaboration with stakeholders, active monitoring of environmental factors, energy transition, and with certified carbon offsets as needed.

Isavia attends sustainability discussions

Hrönn Ingólfsdóttir, director of strategy and sustainability at Isavia, and Stefán Kári Sveinbjörnsson, project manager at Isavia, gave a talk at the Sustainable Suðurnes meeting hosted by the Suðurnes Forum in May 2023. Hrönn and Stefán Kári discussed, among other things, the company's sustainability journey and goals for carbon neutrality in Isavia's operations that are to be achieved until the end of 2030. A new mapping of Keflavík Airport's carbon footprint was presented, technical challenges for different new aircraft fuels due to the energy exchange in flight at Keflavík Airport, as well as the energy demand of international flights, which is estimated to be the equivalent of at least 14.7 – 16.5 Svartsengi power plants in 2050.

Among the guests at the meeting were Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate, who gave a speech on the path to success in climate matters.

Environmental impact assessment report presented for public review

In April 2023, Isavia organised an open meeting in Reykjanesbær on its environmental impact assessment report on the upcoming development of KEF Airport. In addition to the report, the plans for construction at KEF Airport for the next ten years and the goals they are intended to achieve were presented.

The projects that Isavia is planning at Keflavík Airport in the coming years aim to improve infrastructure and facilities, so that the airport can guarantee better service and passenger experience. The plans include, among other things, a significant expansion of the terminal buildings, the construction of a parking garage, improved access to the airport, a new area for air cargo and improvements that will increase the efficiency of the existing two runways. The construction is so that Keflavík Airport can comfortably accommodate the number of passengers that have passed through the airport at the peak and to meet the increase in passengers that is expected to occur in the next ten years. Isavia encourages everyone to familiarize themselves with the plans for the construction and development of Keflavík Airport and the assessment of their environmental impact. More information about the environmental assessment report and the development of Keflavík Airport can be found in the links below.

Sustainability is a guiding principle in everything we do

Egill Björn Thorstensen, project manager in strategy and sustainability at Isavia, discussed the sustainability strategy and sustainability framework for the planned construction at Keflavík Airport in an interview with Fréttablaðið last year.

"We have detailed goals in our sustainability policy, which include climate issues and resource utilization. We have an action plan that covers the years 2022 to 2026, and in addition we have defined goals and actions until 2030," said Egill.

"It is a system that is known worldwide and makes various requirements regarding material selection, pollution, waste issues, resource utilization and more. We intend to achieve BREEAM Excellent certification, which is a lofty goal for this type of building. We have experienced consultants to help us achieve this goal, as it is necessary to meet the strict requirements," says Egill Björn.

Environmental assessment report presented

An environmental assessment report on the expansion of Keflavík Airport was published for comments on the Planning Agency's website.

The report was prepared at the initiative of Isavia and deals with the assessment of the environmental impact of the projects that the company is planning at Keflavík Airport in the coming years.

The construction works are intended to strengthen the infrastructure of the runway system, expand the terminal and improve facilities so that the airport can guarantee a better service and passenger experience.

The report assesses the potential environmental impact of Isavia’s development plans, which aim to improve Keflavík Airport’s infrastructure to accommodate current and future passenger growth in the next decade. The project includes the expansion of the terminal, strengthening of the runway system, and upgrades to enhance passenger experience. Isavia’s construction will adhere to their sustainability policy and will be certified by the BREEAM, the international certification system for sustainable construction. Isavia believes that implementing sustainability measures will help to reduce costs over the lifetime of the buildings while minimizing their environmental impact.

A number of new restaurants and shops

Multiple new stores and restaurants opened at Keflavík Airport in 2023. The famous Jómfrúin, a well known restaurant to many nationals, opened at KEF Airport in 2023. The restaurant offers Danish spreads and other delicacies. Another popular opening in 2023 were the restaurants Baked and Elda started operating, both of them offer meals that are extremely suitable for travelers. Bakað was designed by HAF Studio and is located both in the departure and the arrival hall of the airport. At the Elda restaurant, special emphasis is placed on quality and good ingredients, and the restaurant is owned by SSP, an international company that specializes in the operation of restaurants at airports and operates over 2,500 locations worldwide.

Finally, Bæjarins Beztu, the famous hot dog stand, opened their third pop-up stall at Keflavík Airport towards the end of 2023 – now in the airport's departure hall by the passport control. The company has operated a branch in store 10-11 in the airport's arrivals hall since 2021, and this summer added a hot dog cart in the waiting area in the south building through which passengers on their way to Great Britain, the United States and other non-Schengen countries pass.

New eyewear store and Elko expands

In the first months of 2024, a new and elegant eyewear store Eyesland was opened at Keflavík Airport, offering many of the most desirable brands of glasses and sunglasses. The new store was designed by Gláma Kím and is located next to the exit from the Duty Free in the departure hall.

In November 2023, the electronics chain ELKO opened a new store located in the arrivals hall of Keflavík Airport with better access and an increased product range. The store is located in the airport's new baggage hall, at the exit from the Duty Free Store.