Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsReykjavík-Keflavík Airport
|Inside the airport terminal|
|IATA: KEF – ICAO: BIKF|
Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport (also called Keflavik Airport) is the largest and busiest airport in Iceland. It is the country's main hub for international flights. The airport is 50 km (31 mi) west of the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík. The airport has three runways. Most international flights to or from Iceland pass through this airport.
The main airlines at Keflavík are Icelandair and WOW Air. Both make the airport their main hub. The airport handles almost all international flights. Most domestic flights are flown from Reykjavík Airport. It is only 3 km (1.9 mi) from Reykjavík. Keflavík Airport is operated by Isavia, a government enterprise.
Until World War II Iceland had very little contact with the United States. Because of the strategic importance of Iceland to the war in Europe The US and Iceland signed a treaty in June 1941. The Americans built military bases on land provided by Iceland. Construction on the airport began on 2 July 1942. It was occupied by US troops on 24 March 1943 and named Meeks field. After the war the US wanted to keep their bases but the Icelandic government said no. Ownership of Keflavik airport was returned to Iceland while the American military turned over their facilities to an American company to run for them. When Iceland joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949, they sided firmly with the Americans in the Cold War. In 1951 a new treaty was signed and the American military returned to Iceland. During the cold war the Icelandic bases were used for surveillance in the North Atlantic. In the 1990s, with the end of the cold war, the US scaled back its operations in Iceland. In 2006 it closed down its base at Keflavik.
During the 1950s two airlines served Iceland. Loftleidir Icelandic flew between Luxembourg and New York stopping in Iceland. The other carrier was Flugfelag Islands. They flew to Europe from Reykjavik. Sometime after the start of the jet age both moved to Keflavik. The two companies later joined together as “Icelandair”. In April 1987, the airport got the "Leifur Eiriksson International Air Terminal". It was remodeled and extended in 2001. When the US military left in 2006, the government owned company ISAVIA took over control. The company operates all airports and navigational aids in Iceland.
Leifur Eiríksson terminal
According to an article in USA Today, Leifur Eiriksson Air Terminal was ranked second best in the world. According to Frommers.com "Iceland's cozy, little international airport looks like it arrived in a flat pack from Ikea". The airport has beautiful views of the rugged Islandic landscape. The Leifur Eiríksson Terminal is well lit, clean and easy to navigate for travelers. It is open 24 hours a day. The tax-free and duty-free shops are available both for arriving and departing passengers.
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