Passengers Flying to USA Face “Increased Security Requirements”

Increased aviation security requirements are now being implemented for passengers traveling to the United States from Iceland. A recent announcement posted on the Icelandair website notes that as of September 30, passengers should allow additional time at the airport to go through these new steps, which include passenger interviews.

“These implementations should not cause any delays, but we ask passengers to show patience and understanding while these requirements are being implemented,” read the announcement. “Interviews will be conducted with passengers going to the United States before check-in and consequently the check-in process may take a little longer than usual.”

Reykjavík City Council Aims to Increase Strætó Service by 2020

A man using the klapp app in Reykjavík

The Strætó municipal bus is working towards increased service on three of the most frequented capital-area bus lines, RÚV reports. Per a newly proposed schedule adjustment, service on the 1, 3, and 6 lines would increase to once every seven and a half minutes during rush hour starting in January 2020. The service increases were approved by the Reykjavík City Council in a meeting earlier this week, but still have to be reviewed by surrounding municipalities.

According to Pawel Bartoszek, a council member for the Reform Party who spoke with RÚV on the increased service proposal, there is currently a ten-minute wait between buses on the 1 and 6 lines, and a fifteen-minute wait between buses on the 3 line. The City Council has requested information on how much the increased service will cost to implement, and changes may be made to the service proposal depending on what they find out. Pawel says the idea isn’t to change the Strætó system overall, simply to increase service at the times of greatest need.

Unfortunately, no service increases will be implemented for over a year. Pawel explained that this is because municipalities in the capital area must now review the new budget and schedule plan and that there is a set protocol for making changes to the Strætó route schedule. It’s important, he says, to review this proposal well and discuss it with the adjoining municipalities who are involved in and directly affected by Strætó operations, but hopes that there is enough interest in the proposal to seriously review it soon, so that “…it doesn’t get stranded in the Reykjavík City Council.”

Airwaves Raises Fees, Reduces Locations For Off-Venue Shows

Iceland Airwaves will be significantly reducing its off-venue locations from 60 to 25 in total, Kjarninnreports. Simultaneously, the fee for hosting official, off-venue Airwaves concerts over the entire Airwaves festival is significantly increasing, from ISK 60,000 [$526.40; €456.94] to ISK 500,000 [$4,387; €3,808].

These changes have been confirmed by Ísleifur Þórhallsson, the new CEO of Iceland Airwaves, who is also the CEO for Sena Live—the events company that bought Iceland Airwaves in February and which is responsible for bringing Ed Sheeran to play his first concert in Iceland next year.

Venues that want to host official off-venue concerts during Airwaves have to pay the festival a nightly fee, which increases the later in the week that the show is held. These fees are all being increased. So now, a venue that wants to host an off-venue concert on Wednesday has to pay ISK 50,000 [$439; €381]. Thursday shows will cost ISK 100,000 [$877; €762] and Friday shows ISK 150,000 [$1,316; €1,143]. Saturday off venue concerts are the priciest: ISK 200,000 [$1,755; €1,524]. This means that a venue that wants to host off-venue concerts every night during Airwaves will have to pay ISK 500,000 [$4,387; €3,808] for the honor. Ísleifur says that the festival is making special arrangements with non-profit venues, but no distinction has been made between venues based on their sizes or how they were operated in the previous year.

Official off-venue locations are listed in the Iceland Airwaves program and presented as part of the festival. There are rules that off-venue locations must abide by, such as that no artist playing an official Airwaves show can play an off-venue set on the same day.

Ísleifur says that off-venue locations are an important and fun part of the Airwaves, but that in reality, they have a significant effect on ticket sales and are a financial strain on the festival. As such, the number of venues is being reduced and special weekend events for bracelet holders are being introduced, in accordance with reorganization efforts aimed at helping the festival continue to succeed in the future.

Sena Live hopes that these changes will lead to increased ticket sales. This year, a festival bracelet will allow the wearer entrance to all festival events, unlike previous years. Ísleifur says the goal is to increase the value of the bracelets. He is quick to emphasize as well that the new owners take their position seriously and recognize the important role that Iceland Airwaves plays in the Icelandic music scene and in the city of Reykjavík as well.

Woman Safe After Difficult Rescue from Kirkjufell

The Coast Guard’s helicopter was called out shortly before 6:00 pm on Wednesday regarding an accident at Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, RÚV reports. A French woman in her twenties fell from the mountain and injured herself badly, but was able to make an emergency call herself.

At the time of the call, weather conditions on and around the mountain were difficult, with snow, considerable ice, and poor visibility. As such, it was expected that it would take time and would be rather dangerous for rescuers to reach the woman. In addition to the helicopter, paramedics and a search and rescue team specially trained in mountain rescues was also called to the scene. In spite of the challenging weather conditions, however, she was rescued in under four hours.

Per a report in Skessuhorn.is, the young woman suffered both head and foot injuries after sliding down the ice-slick side of the mountain. Amazingly, she stopped sliding just a few feet shy of cliff edge; had she gone over, she would have fallen some 10 meters [33 feet] at least, undoubtedly to her death. She was very cold by the time that rescuers reached her, but they were able to get her into a helicopter and transport her to the hospital in Reykjavík.

It has only been a little over two weeks since another hiker died after a fall on the very same mountain, not to mention the hiker who died there last year. Given this, there is considerable debate among Search and Rescue members and others about whether or not there should be limits to, or even a full ban on hikers climbing Kirkjufell in the winter. It’s thought that hikers often attempt the climb often without taking account of weather conditions, or having the appropriate experience, clothing, and/or gear to complete it safely. The matter is, therefore, now being transferred over to authorities for consideration.