Iceland Airports Reopen to GA/BA Flights

By David Mumford

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Update 1000z May 18: The summit is over, and the restrictions on flights at BIKF and BIRK have now been lifted. Below is original story from May 16.


There’s a big state summit happening in Reykjavik this week, which means restrictions for GA/BA flights at Iceland’s main airports BIKF/Keflavik and BIRK/Reykjavik.

BIKF/Keflavik

This is the most common stop for GA/BA flights doing North Atlantic stops. There’s no parking allowed here from 0000z May 15 to 1000z May 18. That’s what this super vague Notam A0133/23 actually means:

A0133/23 - EAST APRON/WEST APRON RESTRICTED FOR SPECIAL OPERATION. 
STATE, DIVERTED AND AMBULANCE FLIGHTS ARE EXCLUDED. 
15 MAY 00:00 2023 UNTIL 18 MAY 10:00 2023. 
CREATED: 11 MAY 14:37 2023

We checked with a local handler at the airport, who said that quick turns are not allowed either during this period. You can contact them for more info at ops@southair.is.

BIRK/Reykjavik

From 0700z May 16 to 1900z May 17, GA/BA flights are not allowed to go here either! Not unless your flight is directly related to the summit, in which case you need slots. And you can’t use it as a FPL alternate.

The days before and after (May 15 and 18), BIRK will be somewhat restricted as well – it’ll be busy, all areas and access to the airport will be restricted and guarded by police, and access will only be granted to operating crews, VIPs and staff that have been approved and listed by authorities. Roads and areas close to the summit in downtown Reykjavik will be closed or restricted as well, so good to keep that in mind if crews are staying at a hotels close to the summit.

The Notams for BIRK are actually pretty clear (unlike those for BIKF), and if you need more info about all this, you can contact the local handler at ops@reykjavikfbo.is, but also check out AIP SUP 6-23 below:

Where else to go?

If you want to use Iceland as a North Atlantic night stop this week, local handlers are advising to use BIEG/Egilsstadir or BIAR/Akureyri in the north of the country.

BIEG/Egilsstadir is open weekdays 0800-1745z and weekends 0915-1745z (400EUR charge outside these hours), and are able to handle almost all GA/BA flights – but they do not have a VIP lounge or FBO. There seem to be a few different handling agents able to make arrangements here. We’ve been speaking with jetcenter@icelandair.is – so maybe get in touch with them for more info.

BIAR/Akureyri is open 0700-2300z (and outside these hours, for an extra fee), and they do have an FBO for GA/BA flights – so this might be the airport to go to. Local agents have reported that there is still space at the airport right now, but it’s busier than usual due to the summit. Contact them at jetcenter@icelandair.is.

Anything else worth knowing about ops to Iceland?

  • There’s been a change in AFTN addressing for filing of flight plans in the BIRD/Reykjavik FIR. IFR FPLs now need to be sent to BIRDZPZZ. VFR and mixed FPLs should be sent to BIRDZPZX. AIC 8-23 refers.
  • Iceland’s airspace is now entirely covered with ADS-B. Coverage extends from the North Pole to Scotland and from the Greenwich Meridian to the west of Greenland. You can see their coverage map including flight levels at this link.
  • There are some specific route requirements for flights to BIKF/Keflavik and BIRK/Reykjavik. These can be found in AIP ENR 1.8.4.1.3.7 which explains exactly how you should file your flight plans to/from both BIKF and BIRK. But to make all this blurb easier to understand, the good folks at Isavia have published some handy graphic presentations of the requirements which you can find here.

Anything else big we missed? Let us know! Or even better, if you’ve operated to Iceland recently and can share some info on how it went, file an Airport Spy report!

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David Mumford

David Mumford

News editor, notam sifter, airspace monitor, map maker, and general purveyor of flight ops info.

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