Airport Operator Responds to Akureyri Airport Story Skip to content

Airport Operator Responds to Akureyri Airport Story

By Iceland Review

Guðni Sigurðsson, a public relations person at airport operator Isavia, has voiced his disapproval of a news story published in the Icelandic media and on icelandreview.com on November 5 regarding Akureyri Airport being listed in the riskiest category of airports by some foreign airlines.

The story on icelandreview.com stated that “In general, airports are classified by flight operators as A, B or C, depending on the level of difficulty flying into them or taking off. Category A needs no special preparation, and category B requires pilots to familiarize themselves briefly with conditions prior to departure. According to RÚV, if an airport is in category C, pilots are prohibited from landing there unless they have either undergone special training in a simulator or been to the airport to check out conditions.”

Guðni, however, states that there is no general classification of airports. The classification, he says, is informal and not standardized.

Guðni said in a written reply to Iceland Review Online, “Akureyri is not at all among the most dangerous airports in Europe and we don’t have any such classification.” He continues, “Some airlines categorize airports, and airports automatically land in a certain category until the airlines have visited the airports. The categories are meaningless until the airlines have come and actually landed at the airport. In every instance, airlines which have landed at Akureyri Airport have placed it in a favorable category. These categories are not at all a public categorization, nor are they standardized. The standardized, public categorization puts Akureyri Airport in a certain ICAO category.”

Guðni continued, “Akureyri Airport is an international airport, with very sophisticated flight guidance equipment, rescue and fire-fighting service in category V, but can be moved up to category VII with a 10-minute notice. The category depends on the length and width of airplanes which land at the airport. Category VII is, for example, for airplanes the size of Boeing 757-200.

Airlines use their own categories, and those are not categories used by or influenced by airport operators. Airlines have many airports, which they haven’t looked at specifically, in the lower categories, but we work systematically at informing them of the opportunities of airports and get them to familiarize themselves with conditions.

As far as weather conditions are concerned, Akureyri is located between mountains, and therefore the wind direction can be different above the mountains than the north and south winds which are dominant at the airport. This is why turbulence can occur when flying into the airport, as many people know who have flown to Akureyri. The pilot and the flight operator make these decisions about when and when not to land and what expectations to have toward airports.”

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