The City of Reykjavík cannot start building a residential development beside the City Airport until another location for the airport has been established, Iceland’s Transport Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhansson has stated. Officials of Isavia, the company that operates the airport, have expressed concern that planned buildings near runways would create wind currents that would impact flight safety. City authorities had planned to begin construction of the new development this summer.
Agreement between city and state
In an interview taken at the City Airport this morning, Sigurður Ingi pointed to an agreement made between the City of Reykjavík and the state in November 2019. “As long as another option, equally good or better, has not been found nor constructed, then the agreement stipulates that this airport here, that we are standing on, must remain unchanged, both operationally and in terms of safety. And it would not, according to the analysis of Isavia and their consultants, if this construction in Skerjafjörður begins,” Sigurður Ingi stated. The development in question would involve not only building next to the airport, but on a section of the current airport lot.
The proposal for the residential development in Skerjafjörður was first approved in 2018 and is one of the areas targeted by the City of Reykjavík’s 2010-2030 municipal plan. City authorities have stated that the development “will not impair the current operations nor the utilisation of Reykjavík Airport.”
The location of the airport has been a hot topic for years: its supporters argue that moving it out of the city centre would negatively impact countryside residents and complicate emergency flights to the National Hospital, while its detractors argue that relocating the airport would free up much-needed space for housing in the city centre. A decision has in fact been made to move the City Airport, but a suitable alternate location is yet to be found.