Whilst Ryanair has denied media reports claiming it had added Iceland to its destination list for next summer, the Russians have added it to their itinerary since the US military decided to leave.
Hjördís Gudmundsdóttir, press officer of the Icelandic Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCAA),claims that two Russian bombers flew through Icelandic airspace last Friday 30th September (the day the last US forces left) and the traffic control, tower was unaware. Although the Minister for Foreign Affairs says this is not true.
Gudmundsdóttir says that the DCAA only registers aircraft that have their radars (transponders?) on, and this is not always the case with military aircraft.
In 1980, 120 Soviet aircraft were intercepted from Keflavik. In the past 14 years, that number has dropped to four.
At the DCAA's recent annual aviation symposium, delegates representing the airport, airlines, government departments and assorted other interests, spent a day in debate over what should happen next.
Redevelopment is essential, Keflavík airport CEO Björn Ingi Knútsson told the audience:
“A lot of the development that remains at the airport is old. The radar, the fire engines and the crash and rescue units are becoming so aged that they are regarded by ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] as the minimum [acceptable].”
There is no shortage of plans, but there probably is a shortage of funds , current ideas include the former military area of the site being used by one of the freight integrators as hub, or by the Icelandic military for troops, and for some of the hangars to be rebuilt as movie studios.
Chief executive of Keflavík-based Icelandair, Jón Karl Ólafsson, who says the airport will handle 1 million passengers next year said,
“It is a very poor terminal building. It is a shame, it is a disgrace to us all, and we need a new terminal. We have to finish the new terminal and this must be done through a private undertaking as soon as possible.”
FL Group (ICEX: FL) who made a tidy profit (a profit to LP Group of 140 Mn Euros on sale value of 325 Mn Euros a return of 70%.) buying and selling a big chunk of Easy Jet (Lord Patel 5/4/06) also own Icelandair and 10% of Finnair. They have orders for 2 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for delivery 2010 and a further 2 in 2012.
Largest shareholders of FL Group are Eignarhaldsfelagid Oddaflug ehf.(18.9%), owned by Hannes Smarason, CEO, Baugur Group (18.3%), Icon (7.3%) and Materia Invest (6.6%)
Of course it would be absurd to suggest that Ryanair would buy up Icelandair. Wouldn't it ?