The twenty thousand square metre expansion of Leif Erikson Air Terminal at Keflavík Airport formally began on August 16th. The estimated cost of the project is at just over 21 billion ISK and is the largest project Isavia has undertaken, according to Vísir.
Guðmundur Daði Rúnarsson, Director of Trade and Development at Isavia, states that a new entrance hall containing three floors will be part of the extension. This will include a luggage reception for arriving passengers on the first floor as well as four new gates and a new restaurant for departing passengers on the second floor. The third floor will remain available for future expansion to the east.
Preparations have been in progress for several years; extensive expansion was part of the 2015 development plan for Keflavík Airport. This phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2024. The purpose of the project is to ultimately improve service and capacity at the airport.
Iceland had been experiencing a meteoric rise in tourism following the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. The number of visitors only began to significantly decline during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 saw only 486,000 tourists visiting the country, nearly matching the number of arrivals in 2010. By contrast, in 2018 Iceland welcomed over 2.3 million travellers to the country.
This year, the number of visitors is on the rise again with 700,000 individuals expected to holiday here in 2021. Luckily, the expansion efforts are not expected to interfere with normal operations of the airport.
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