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Scope of operations

Two factors have the greatest impact on the scope of Isavia’s operations: the number of flight movements and the number of passengers. Isavia’s income from Keflavík Airport can be attributed first and foremost to the airlines that land at the airport, rent income from catering and retail outlets as well as other income from renting facilities.

As a whole, the company’s operations have widened in scope as compared to last year. Domestic flight passenger throughput decreased by around 4.5%, while the number of international passengers travelling through domestic airports increased by 8%. At Keflavík Airport, the number of passengers increased by 12%; and traffic in Icelandic airspace increased by 5.8% in 2018.

Three aircraft operators ran scheduled flights within Iceland, i.e. Air Iceland Connect, Flugfélagið Ernir and Norlandair. Other aircraft operators who regularly used Isavia services were Mýflug, Circle Air, Atlantsflug and Norðurflug. Vesturflug / Blue West and Helo operate a helicopter service at the company’s airports.

Air Iceland Connect flies from Reykjavík to several locations in Greenland, and Atlantic Airways flew to the Faroe Islands for most of the year from Reykjavík Airport until they transferred to Keflavík Airport. In addition, the Icelandic Flight Academy (Flugskóli Íslands) and Flugfélagið Geirfugl have facilities at Reykjavík Airport. BIRK Flight Services, Reykjavík FBO and Air Iceland Connect are responsible for ground handling services at airports. 

At Akureyri Airport, Norlandair has regular scheduled flights within Iceland and scheduled and chartered flights to Greenland. In addition, travel agencies in the area offer direct flights from Akureyri to a few destinations overseas. Circle Air offers chartered and sight-seeing flights from Akureyri. Air Iceland Connect has being flying between Akureyri and Keflavík Airport in connection with the Icelandair’s main destinations in Europe and North America since 2017. In February 2018, the company announced that it intended to drop this route as of summer 2018. These plans, however, changed and the airline restarted the service in October 2018. In addition, the Akureyri Aviation Academy (Flugskóli Akureyrar) is based at the airport. Air Iceland Connect and South Air are responsible for ground handling services at Akureyri Airport. Akureyri Airport is the centre for Iceland’s ambulance flights, as the Mýflug airline has an agreement thereto with the Ministry of Health.

At Egilsstaðir, Air Iceland Connect deals with ground handling services for private and leased aircraft. Travel agencies have offered direct charter flights from Egilsstaðir to several overseas destinations.

WOW air
WOW air
Air Iceland Connect
Air Iceland Connect

Reykjavík Airport has two runways (1,567 and 1,230 m long), Akureyri Airport has one (2,400 m) and Egilsstaðir Airport has one (2,000 m). Other airports and landing sites have runways ranging from 634 m to 1,887 m in length.

The largest customers of Isavia’s flight navigation services are Icelandair, WOW air, United Airlines, SAS, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Canada, Delta, Emirates, Norwegian, Air Greenland, Qatar Airways and KLM. These airlines fly the greatest number of kilometres within the Icelandic flight traffic control area. Icelandic airlines are the biggest users of flight navigation services at Keflavík Airport.

During the summer of 2018, 30 airlines flew from Keflavík Airport to more than 100 destinations. Eleven airlines flew to and from Iceland all year round: Icelandair, WOW air, easyJet, Wizz Air, British Airways, Norwegian, SAS, Air Iceland Connect, Delta, Lufthansa and Finnair. Two airfreight airlines, Icelandair Cargo and Bluebird, fly from Keflavík Airport throughout the year.

Three handling agents operate at Keflavík Airport: IGS, Airport Associates and South Air.

Numerous passengers take advantage of Keflavík Airport as a transit airport, and both WOW air and Icelandair use the airport for such purpose on routes between Europe and North America. The minimum flight connection time for passengers at Keflavík Airport is 25 minutes.

Isavia has, with the assistance of an incentives system, been quite successful in getting airlines to fly to Iceland over the winter months. In addition, Isavia has marketed time slots outside peak hours each day, with the aim of making better use of the airport’s facilities.

Keflavík Airport has two runways, which are 3,054 and 3,065 m long.

Keflavik Airport longest runway
m m
Reykjavík Airport longest runway
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Akureyri Airport longest runway
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Egilsstaðir Airport longest runway
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Passenger and traffic forecasts

A passenger forecast for domestic airports is compiled at the end of each year. It is based on information obtained from the largest users of the airports and is used in connection with operating plans and the preparation of fee lists. 

Traffic in the Icelandic air traffic control area is assessed in accordance with information from a working group entitled the Economic Financial Forecasting Group (EFFG). The working group, which prepares a forecast for air traffic over the North Atlantic, is made up of all service providers and representatives of associations using the service in the North Atlantic.

A passenger forecast for Keflavík Airport is compiled at the end of each year for the coming year and is published in November. Due to uncertainties relating to one of the largest customers of Keflavík Airport, it proved impossible to publish a passenger forecast for 2019 in November as has been the norm. Instead, the forecast was published in January 2019.

When creating passenger forecasts for Keflavík Airport, the following methodology is used:

  • Co-operation – All airlines using Keflavík Airport were contacted for information on their expected seating availability or expected number of passengers.
  • Information gathering – Isavia’s experience and knowledge is used to improve the first drafts.
  • Facts – Booking data and information from Keflavík International Airport’s booking system is used to refine the forecast.

The forecast is based on information about time slots that airlines have reserved for the upcoming summer and the winter schedule that they have prepared. Major airlines have been very co-operative in providing information about seat availability. Isavia focuses on sharing information that the company collects with tourist services entities, analysts and the public and holds open meetings for such purposes.

Airports are important business centres and directly and indirectly strengthen the creation of economic and social value for the communities that their operations touch.

Value creation

Isavia is a company that plays an important role both community-wise and in an economic sense. Isavia’s airports, especially Keflavík International Airport, create value for the community and the economy, both in Iceland and elsewhere in the world. Direct flight connections are extremely important. The more direct connections by flight from Iceland to the main cities of the world, the easier it is for Icelandic companies and private persons to engage in business overseas and export goods and seek international experience. In addition, they increase the interest of overseas companies to begin operations in Iceland.

Airports are important business centres and directly and indirectly strengthen the creation of economic and social value for the communities that their operations touch. Being located close by an airport allows companies and their value chains to enjoy the benefits of their closeness and directly and indirectly support positive economic developments for such areas.

Isavia has, through e.g. the preparation of its Masterplan to 2040, examined the possibility of constructing, in the operating area of the airport, an Airport City. There are numerous opportunities that arise from creating an airport city. This consists of the area that covers the airport, the terminal, cargo areas, office buildings, shops and services as well as hotels. The area could support the development of operations, both flight-related and non-flight-related, enjoying the benefits of being located near an international airport with strong flight connections to gain a competitive edge. Clear policies towards such goals can result in an increase in goods and services transactions, attract increased foreign investment in Iceland, increase the number of valuable jobs and increase the prosperity of all Icelanders.

A total of 764 employees work in the largest operation unit of Isavia at Keflavík Airport. In addition, hundreds of employees work in other companies that have operations in direct connection with the airport. Approximately 239 companies have long-term access authorisations to the airport. These are companies or public bodies with facilities within the airport and the companies that provide them with services.

Isavia’s contribution to the community consists of a range of different elements. Some of Isavia’s contributions are in the form of taxes and public levies that the Group pays or collects, together with matching contributions to employee pension funds.

Isavia´s Tax footprint 2018 - 9.153

Skattaspor Isavia 2018
Employment taxes 3829
Corporate income taxes 898
Alcohol and tobacco taxes 694
Property taxes 442
Other taxes 351
Employer pension fund 1840
Social security contribution 1098

Direct economic value generated and distributed

GRI 201-12018
Direct economic value generated
Economic value distributed
Operating costs11.403
Employee wages and benefits16.820
Payments to providers of capital1.173
Payments to government3.623
Community investmens58
Economic value retained2.903
Average number of positions1430