Near Miss with Bus on Wrong Side of Road Captured on Dashcam

A bus driving on the wrong side of the road on Reykjanesbrautin.

Drivers on Reykjanesbrautin yesterday narrowly avoided a collision when they encountered a bus driving towards them on the wrong side of the road. The bus was under the care of a repair shop, whose owner attributed the incident to “human error.”

Narrowly avoided a collision

A driver and his passenger were considerably startled yesterday as they drove along Reykjanesbraut – the road leading from the capital area to the Keflavík International Airport – and encountered a bus coming towards them at full speed on the wrong side of the road. As can be seen in the accompanying video from Mbl.is below, cars had to quickly swerve to the side to allow the bus to pass.

 

“We had the camera on the dashboard running, as always, and suddenly we saw the cars ahead of us dart to the side and then this bus coming towards us on the opposite side of the barrier,” driver Haraldur Ingþórsson told Mbl.is yesterday.

As reported by Vísir today, the bus in question was under the care of the vehicle repair shop Vélrás. The company owner told Vísir that it had been a matter of “human error” and that the matter would be dealt with internally.

The bus company Arctic Oro was initially implicated in the incident after netizens traced the bus’s licence plate to the company. The owner of the bus company told Vísir that the company had suffered significant reputational damage due to the incident; the truth was that the bus was being repaired at the aforementioned workshop, and an employee of the workshop had been driving the bus.

Closure of Reykjanesbraut Cost Icelandair ISK 1 Billion

Icelandair

The CEO of Icelandair has stated that the storm in December, and the subsequent closure of Reykjanesbraut, cost the company approximately ISK 1 billion ($7 million / €6.4 million). Thousands were left stranded at Keflavík Airport due to the closure.

Best fourth-quarter performance since 2015

Yesterday, Icelandair published its consolidated financial report for 2022. The report states that the company’s full-year EBIT amounted to ISK 2.7 billion ($19 million / €17.4 million), which is an improvement by ISK 19 billion ($136 / €124 million), and that strong revenue generation resulted in the best fourth quarter performance since 2015. “In 2022, we brought around 740 thousand tourists to Iceland and recruited around 1,000 employees,” the report reads.

The report also notes that weather disruptions in December negatively affected results for the fourth quarter of 2022: “It was negatively affected by significant disruptions in the flight schedule caused by weather conditions in Iceland in December, in the midst of the pre-Christmas travel period. The negative effect on EBIT is estimated around $7 million (ISK 1 billion / €6.4 million) in lost revenue cost of leasing extra aircraft, and increased passenger-related costs. [The] majority of the negative effect is related to the closure of the main road between the capital area and KEF airport while the airport itself was operational,” Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair, was quoted as saying.

Bogi concluded by saying that following “the crisis,” a thorough review had been performed by the Ministry of Infrastructure in order to prevent similar events in the future.

Thorough review by the Ministry of Infrastructure

As noted by RÚV, Reykjanesbraut was closed on December 19 and 20 of last year. Thousands of tourists were left stranded at Keflavík Airport during the storm.

The working group of the Minister of Infrastructure submitted a report on the matter in late January, which states, among other things, that it would not have been possible to completely prevent the closure of the Reykjanesbraut, considering the weather conditions during the period in question, and the statutory roles of the Icelandic Road Administration and the police in ensuring the safety of drivers.

Work Group to Submit Report on Reykjanesbraut Closure

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson

A work group appointed by Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson to review the closure of Reykjanesbraut in December is expected to submit a draft plan to the Ministry of Infrastructure next week, Mbl.is reports. The closure of Reykjanesbraut led to numerous flight cancellations and delays.

Reykjanesbraut closure leads to flight cancellations, delays

Following heavy snow in the capital area during the days leading up to Christmas, Reykjanesbraut – the road leading to Keflavík Airport – became impassable. The closure led to numerous flight delays and cancellations, with many travellers expressing their criticism of the Icelandic authorities.

Speaking to Mbl.is in December, Minister of Infrastructure Sigurður Ingi Jóhannson stated that the situation was unacceptable: “I have to say, right now, we have to get over this and ensure, as far as that’s possible, that Reykjanesbraut is not closed while the airport is open.”

Sigurður Ingi subsequently appointed a work group composed of representatives from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration, the National Police Commissioner, and the Suðurnes police chief. The work group was tasked with reviewing the events in December and drafting a plan on how best to deal with similar situations.

“We are working hard on the report in collaboration with these groups,” Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, Director of Communications for the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, told Mbl.is this morning. The work group is expected to submit its report on Tuesday, January 10.

“We scrutinise everything we do, so it’s natural for us to scrutinise this,” she added.

Reykjanesbraut Reopened, Delay in Keflavík Flights

Weather alerts

This article was updated at 1.30 PM.

Reykjanesbraut has been reopened and a number of delayed flights are expected to depart from Keflavík Airport starting at 3 PM. A yellow weather alert is in effect in the capital area and Reykjanes peninsula.

Travellers upset by delays, lack of information

A number of flights from Keflavík Airport were cancelled or delayed yesterday due to poor weather conditions, leaving hundreds of travellers stranded. Many of them complained about the lack of information and support provided by Isavia (the national airport and air navigation service provider of Iceland) and Icelandair, while also expressing dissatisfaction with low temperatures and the selection of food available at the airport.

Yellow weather alerts are still in effect but as of 1 PM this afternoon, Reykjanesbraut (the road leading from the capital area to the airport) has been reopened. The road was briefly opened to the east last evening but closed again last night.

A number of early-morning flights to Europe were cancelled and Icelandair has delayed daytime flights to Tenerife, Las Palmas, and Boston (estimated departures at 3 PM or later, at the time of writing).

Travellers can monitor the situation on the Icelandic Road Administration’s Twitter page, umferdin.is, and, of course, the departures and arrivals section of Keflavík Airport’s website.