A Dutch airline is planning to operate direct flights between Amsterdam and Akureyri, North Iceland, beginning next year, RÚV reports. With a population of around 20,000, Akureyri is the largest town in the region but has only ever had sporadic international flights. Tourism industry representatives from North Iceland say flights would need to be more regular in order to support tourism in the region.
“We have direct flights between Akureyri and Tenerife, people who are going on holiday, they have sold well and gone well,” stated Ragnheiður of AK Travel (Ferðaskrifstofa Akureyrar). She added that Dutch airline Transavia planned to begin operating direct flights between Akureyri and Amsterdam in February and March. “We only have a few seats that we’re selling to North Icelanders and there is interest.”
The vast majority of tourists visiting Iceland arrive through Keflavík International Airport in Southwest Iceland. Ragnheiður says that international flights to Akureyri would need to be more regular for the North region to be competitive with South Iceland. “This has been in the works for 20 years, since I started in the industry […] We have a dream that we’re seeing 1-2 flights per week, 52 weeks per year. With foreign tourists. Why should they have to drive over heaths in snowstorms to come north?”
Expansion of Akureyri airport begun
On June 16, construction crews broke ground on an expansion of Akureyri airport that is expected to take two years. Both the airport terminal and tarmac will be expanded and the developments are expected to facilitate international flights. The development of Akureyri airport and the airport at Egilsstaðir, East Iceland were two of several infrastructure investment projects the Icelandic government initiated in response to the pandemic recession.