Cover photo: Ingþór Ingólfsson
Half of the MPs from the Independence Party and the Progressive Party, the majority of the MPs from the Center Party, both MPs from the People’s Party and one MP from the Left-Green Party have submitted a parliamentary resolution on a referendum on the future of Reykjavík airport (ICAO: BIRK).
This is the fifth time that a proposal like this has been submitted to the Althingi, most recently last winter but never succeeded. Almost a year has passed since Minister of Transport and Communications Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson and Reykjavik mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson signed an agreement on research into the possibilities of a new domestic airport in Hvassahraun. The agreement was based on a report by a steering group on the future organization of airport affairs in the southwestern corner of the country.
The main question on the referendum will be if the airport in the capital’s downtown should continue to exist. According to an agreement between the Minister of Transport and the Mayor from 28 November last year, a steering group has been appointed to monitor research into the benefits of Hvassahraun for a new airport. The city and the state share a 200 million contribution to the research. The aim is to decide whether the airport will be built before the end of 2024.
There are two main groups among citizens. First think that the airport is atavism from WWII past and the territory should be renovated. Reals estate companies support them, building plans for creating new apartments in the area. Some people, who live near the airport perimeter are annoyed by the noise of small aeroplanes, which can be met often when the weather is good enough for VFR flights.
Second believe that the airport is a vital transportation hub for all Icelanders, both capital citizens and visitors from other parts of the island. The airport in Reykjavik also is important for emergency ambulance flights, considering the main state hospital Landspitalli is situated just on across the road from the aerodrome.