Restaurants and Shops to Double at Keflavík Airport

Keflavík Airport

Keflavík Airport is planning to double its shopping and restaurant service over the next few years, Vísir reports. The airport’s Director of Business Hlynur Sigurðsson says revenue from sources other than flights is important for keeping the airport competitive.

Shops and restaurants at Keflavík International Airport currently cover an area of some 4,500 metres squared (48,000 feet squared), but according to Hlynur, that area will double over the next ten years. Despite a projected drop in the number of passengers in 2019, Hlynur states he expects growth at the airport in the long term.

Doubts About WOW Negotiations Arise

Despite a drawn-out negotiation period with Indigo Partners, WOW air has yet to close the deal with the company. One news source cast doubt on whether negotiations between the two were in fact still ongoing. WOW representatives are sharing very little about the company’s current situation, leading many to speculate once again how a potential bankruptcy of the airline could impact the Icelandic economy.

Svanhvít Friðriksdóttir, WOW’s Public Relations Officer, said she was unable to comment on the state of negotiations with Indigo Partners. Vísir reports that WOW air’s creditors have postponed a decision on whether or not to forgive a large portion of WOW’s debt until Monday. Unconfirmed sources report that the airline has proposed obtaining state-backed loans from Arionbanki bank to support their operations in the short term.

Government watches closely

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated she could not comment on whether WOW had requested a state-guaranteed loan. She added that the government has been following the airline’s situation closely and has considered all options. “Of course, WOW is a big company, and of course it matters how they finish up their business. That’s of course the reason that we’ve been monitoring the developments closely. But we hope for the best, of course,” she stated.

Free Bus Service in Reykjavík on Next High-Pollution Day

Public bus in Reykjavík

Strætó will offer free bus service in Reykjavík on the next “grey day,” when particulate pollution levels exceed established health limits. Vísir reports that the public transportation service has programmed a “free ticket” into their app, which will be activated on the grey day to encourage commuters to opt for public transport rather than travelling by car.

Guðmundur Heiðar Helgason, Strætó’s Public Relations Officer, says the company is hoping to change residents’ attitudes toward air quality issues. “We want to create a mental association among people so that on grey days, people think about leaving the car at home and use the good weather to walk, bike, or take the bus instead.”

The initiative is currently a pilot project set to happen only once, but if it is well received, it could become a regular effort to combat air pollution. Travellers will be informed of free bus service at least one day in advance so they can plan their day accordingly.

Strætó has been working with the Environment Agency, the Reykjavík Public Health Authority, the Icelandic Met Office, the Ministry for the Environment, and others to find a solution to poor air quality which often plagues Reykjavík at this time of year. High particulate pollution levels are often measured in Reykjavík during spring, due to the combination of dry weather conditions and studded tires, among other factors.

Garðabær to Receive Ten LGBTQ Refugees

The Ministry of Social Affairs has invited the municipality of Garðabær, near Reykjavík, to receive ten LGBTQ refugees currently located in Kenya. RÚV reports the group is part of the 75 quota refugees the government has agreed to resettle in Iceland this year. The Directorate of Immigration has also requested to sign an agreement with Garðabær to offer services to 40-50 applicants for international protection.

The Ministry is requesting Garðabær receive the group of ten and provide them with rental housing and necessary services and assistance for a period of one year following their arrival to the country. The municipal council approved the project and appointed the mayor to prepare for the group’s reception.

Last year the municipality of Mosfellsbær, also near Reykjavík, received ten LGBTQ refugees from Uganda as part of the quota refugee program.