The Ministry of Infrastructure considers the new residential development by Reykjavík City Airport to threaten the operational safety of the airport and has ordered construction at the site to be postponed, RÚV reports. A letter from the Minister of Infrastructure sent to the Mayor of Reykjavík last week states that the planned development would significantly reduce the operational safety of the airport. The City of Reykjavík’s land-use plan assumes that the airport will be relocated – but the government’s transport policy states that it must continue to operate until another airport is built.
The letter states that it is “totally unacceptable for such projects to be undertaken without fully examining whether – and in what way, it is ensured that they do not have a negative effect on the operational safety of Reykjavík Airport. The Ministry cannot agree to the commencement of construction unless it is demonstrated that aviation and operational safety are not endangered.” The Ministry has appointed a working group of experts to research the issue. They are expected to submit their findings on October 1.
Einar Þorsteinsson, Acting Mayor of Reykjavík while Dagur B. Eggertsson is on leave, says the city cannot afford to lose the 690 new apartments that are in the first phase of construction of the new neighbourhood. He points out that the neighbourhood’s design is based on two previous reports concerning airport safety in the context of the construction.
“I hope it will be possible to build a beautiful neighbourhood there, which serves those groups who are in dire need of housing and at the same time ensure the operational safety of the airport,” Einar stated.
There have been tentative plans to relocate Reykjavík City Airport for decades. The City of Reykjavík’s 2010-2030 land-use plan assumes that the airport will be relocated – but the government’s 2019-2033 Transport Policy states that Reykjavík City Airport in Vatnsmýri must continue to serve domestic flights in a satisfactory manner until another equally good or better option exists. City authorities have maintained that the first phase of construction in Skerjafjörður would not affect the airport’s operation.