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Discussion Starter #41

The winning proposal (pdf) for a new masterplan for Keflavík International Airport (KEF) has been revealed. Six international developing consultancy firms sent basic proposals but the Norwegian firm Nordic - Office of Architecture had the winning proposal and will now get the job of fully developing the masterplan. The plan suggest very ambitious development of the airport in the next 25 years. The current terminal building would be greatly expanded, a new north pier added and the south one expanded to serve a total of 32 aircraft stands (compared to the current 12 stands). A new runway would be added to the west of the terminal and new cargo facilities developed to the east. The plan accomodates a rail station that could be linked to the expanded terminal for a rail line to Reykjavík.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
Paved roads at the end of 2014. Black lines are paved roads, brown lines are unpaved national roads and red lines are roads paved in 2014. The total lenght of national roads at the end of 2014 was 12,914 km of which 5,452 km were paved (42%).

 

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Paved roads at the end of 2014. Black lines are paved roads, brown lines are unpaved national roads and red lines are roads paved in 2014. The total lenght of national roads at the end of 2014 was 12,914 km of which 5,452 km were paved (42%).

Too bad there isn't a paved road crossing the country.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
So the keflavik masterplan, is it just a proposal which is to be determined, or is this actually going to go ahead?
It's a very basic outline at this point which will be the basis for a more comprehensive plan. I think it's more likely than not that KEF will see extensive development in the coming years beause it is already operating at its limits on peak hours but the whole plan would take 20-30 years to realize. One thing that might slow KEF down would be a second international airport in south-western Iceland which is not out of the question. It's all a part of this very heated and complicated political debate in Iceland about the airports in the capital region and their future. I might go into more detail about that here soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Too bad there isn't a paved road crossing the country.
The road administration was doing some preliminary studies on a paved Sprengisandur route but they have shelved it for now. Any plans for more permanent infrastructure in the highlands inevitably run into fierce opposition on natural reservation grounds.

I would not mind a simple paved road across the highlands as a scenic tourist route with a low design speed and closed to heavy trucks. It would probably be closed 4-5 months of the year during winter but that is still a lot better access to the highlands than we currently have.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
KEF was on the news in Iceland yesterday because of increased traffic and the fact that the terminal is bursting at the seams on peak hours like last Sunday night when 18 flights were arriving within a span around one hour. The arrival hall and baggage claim are serious choke points when a lot of passengers are arriving at the same time. The baggage claim hall is not a lot bigger now than it was when the terminal was built in 1987 although it was rearranged in 2005-2008. The first stage of the coming expansion is going to be a huge expansion of the original terminal building to the north which is going to house a greatly expanded baggage claim and arrival halls on the lower level and a check-in hall on the upper level. The original terminal building will become entirely dedicated to commercial areas on the second level and baggage handling systems on the ground level.
Lower level:

Upper level:


Too bad this wasn't started years ago. The current terminal is already too small and it will be at the very least 4-5 years until a major expansion will be ready to give some relief.
 

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I was in one of the 18 flights that you mentioned and honestly the terminal doesn't have the capacity to handle that many passengers at once. Seemed a bit strange how the timetable makes it that so many airlines have inbound flights around that hour and immediately afterwards it becomes rather quiet. I've spent my first night in Keflavik which is how I know that air traffic significantly reduced in volume after 1 AM.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
I was in one of the 18 flights that you mentioned and honestly the terminal doesn't have the capacity to handle that many passengers at once. Seemed a bit strange how the timetable makes it that so many airlines have inbound flights around that hour and immediately afterwards it becomes rather quiet. I've spent my first night in Keflavik which is how I know that air traffic significantly reduced in volume after 1 AM.
The traffic pattern at KEF is built around the use of the airport as a connection hub between Europe and North America. Icelandair and now WOW Air as well schedule their operations to minimize connection times and this means "banked" arrivals and departures. The busiest hours at KEF are at 0530-0730 in the morning when Icelandair flights are arriving from North America and then departing to Europe and at 1500-1700 in the afternoon when Icelandair flights arrive from Europe and then depart to North America. There is a second much smaller Icelandair rotation going on with EU arrivals and NA departures around 0900-1100 in the morning and NA arrivals and EU departures 2300-0100. These peak hours have a lot of connecting passengers who never go to the arrivals hall but when other airlines are added to the mix who are primarily flying passengers that have Iceland as a final destination it is bound to get very crowded.

Much of the day is very calm at KEF and I think it would make sense to direct other carriers to slots at those hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
A long awaited report from the special airport commission was released yesterday. The committee was set up to analyse potential airport alternatives in the Reykjavik area to take over the role of the current Reykjavik Airport (RVK/BIRK) which is located close to the city center and serves only domestic flights along with some flights to Greenland and the Faroes, general aviation, the Coast Guard and air ambulances. Reykjavik's international airport is at Keflavik (KEF/BIKF) which is 50 km away from the city. The future of the airport has been hotly debated for decades. The city wants it gone because it is taking up a lot of valuable land right next to city center, land that could be developed in an urban manner to extend the core of the city. Others want the airport to stay because Iceland's outlying districts rely on it for easy access to the capital and the services that are only available there, the importance of the airport for air ambulances is also cited as it is placed next to the national hospital. The committee studied four alternatives to RKV that can be seen on the map below:


Considering all factors like cost of construction, meteorological factors, environmental issues and travel time, the committee has found Hvassahraun south of Reykjavík to be the best option, not least because it could potentially be upgraded to serve international flights as well and give Reykjavík a closer international airport. Whether it makes sense to split the international traffic between KEF and this new airport is another question.
 

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"land that could be developed in an urban manner to extend the core of the city"

More like reselling properties on that land for exorbitant amounts of money? I don't like the idea of relocating RKV. Either way, if this has to be done, I think they've chosen the right option. Being right outside of Hafnarfjörður and set atop the relatively flat lava fields, it provides good transportation options through Reykjanesbraut. Also, I feel like my second favourite option (Hólmsheiði) wasn't chosen because of its mountainous topography, even though it's closer to Reykjavík and could use Ring Road to transport passengers into town.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Hólmsheiði looks like a logical site on a map but it is not suitable because of weather conditions and nearby hills that limit suitable approach paths to the airport. The site is at more than 100 meters above sea level which makes a significant difference in Iceland, especially during winter.

I am not sure about relocating RKV either. I want to see Reykjavík grow more compact and urban and the airport land could make a lot of difference in that respect but I am also an aviation geek and understand that aviation is of massive importance to Iceland as a whole and that RKV benefits the city and the nation as a whole in ways that are not immediately obvious.

The first reactions to the report by politicians on the national level do indicate that we can already forget everything about a new airport near Reykjavík for both international and domestic flights, it will probably never happen. RKV will continue to be operated for years to come but the passenger numbers will probably continue shrink as domestic flying keeps losing ground to overland transport. I don't really see a way of turning that development around other than operating domestic flights from the same airport as international flights as that would allow easy connections from international to domestic and vice versa.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
More KEF news (maybe it should have its own thread). The Icelandic national radio revealed today that the next step of expansion at the airport will be a new west wing from the main terminal and published this picture from Isavia:

It is said to be 3000 sq. meters but the report included no explanation of its role. The location fits with the suggest western pier from the masterplan but still only the ground floor that is supposed to house baggage handling system. My thought is that maybe it is going to temporarily house some terminal functions while the big expansion to the north is being built and then when that is finished as a base for the new pier.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
The new west wing from the main building pictured in the post above is meant for expansion of the baggage handling system, especially to handle baggage containers which will become more common with introduction of widebody aircraft this summer.

The terminal is being expanded in three other places. A 5000 sq. meter expansion of the south building adds bus gates and waiting areas and will be ready this spring. In January they started with a 800 sq. meter expansion of the arrivals hall and also with a 7000 sq. meter addition to the south building. The latter is a three floors tall building and will greatly expand the border hall. As traffic has grown a lot to countries outside the Schengen area (North America and UK/Ireland) the border is becoming a choke point.



I see on the renders that a part of the new structure is actually five floors tall. I can only hope that it includes a publicly accessible observation deck but they might also be thinking about putting the business lounge up there.
 
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