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  • Travel

    Significant delays at Keflavík Airport after plane skidded off runway yesterday

    By Staff

    Keflavík Airport A plane from the Icelandic Airline Primera Air skidded off the runway yesterday. Conditions at Keflavík were difficult due to snow and ice on the runways. Photo/JBG

    Flights landing in Keflavík this morning have experienced significant delays after a plane from the Icelandic airline Primera Air skidded off the runway late afternoon yesterday. The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports that incoming flights are experiencing delays up to two hours. Departing flights have not experienced any delays.

    Read more: Developing: Keflavík Airport closed after plane skids off runway due to snow, ice

    Primera Air, Keflavík Airport
    Primera Air Conditions at Keflavík Airport yesterday Photo/Metúsalem Björnsson

    At 17:20 yesterday a plane carrying 137 Icelandic passengers and a crew of 6 returning from resorts in Alicante in Spain skidded off the runway while landing, causing the airport authorities to close the North/South runway. The East/West runway was closed due to maintenance and repairs to the tarmac. 

    Passengers were preparing for impact
    A spokesman for the Icelandic Transportation Accident Board told RÚV that the cause of the accident is not known, but that weather conditions at the airport could have been a factor. Heavy snow and ice or slick spots on the runway could have played a role.

    Passengers on the plane told the local news site Vísir that the plane had made one attempt to land, but had then abandoned the attempt, circling the airport once before making a second attempt at landing. After the plane landed, however, the passengers say it felt as if it didn't brake and wasn't slowing down properly.  

    Primera Air, Keflavík Airport
    Nobody was hurt Passengers being ferried off the plane Photo/Metúsalem Björnsson

    One passenger said that the the plane was clearly not slowing down sufficiently. He and his travel partner had begun preparing for impact.

    Fortunately nobody was injured in the accident, and the plane was not damaged significantly.

    Second runway opened temporarily
    By 20:00 airport staff had managed to ferry all passengers from the plane as well as re-opening the second runway. The East/West runway, which had been closed due to maintenance, was plowed and de-iced, allowing the airport to be re-opened.

    By 22:30 yesterday evening the Primera Air plane had been towed off the runway, allowing for the re-opening of the North/South runway.

    Read more: Keflavík airport re-opened after plane skidded off runway

    Planes which were scheduled to land shortly after the accident were diverted to other airports. One returned to Poland, two landed in Scotland and one landed at Reykjavík airport. 

    Primera Air, Keflavík Airport
    High alert The plane was not damaged significantly in the accident. Photo/HS

     

  • Travel

    Keflavík airport re-opened after plane skidded off runway

    By Staff

    At Keflavík Airport The airport was cloased after a plane from Icelandic airline Primera Air skidded off the runway when landing earlier tongith. Photo/Metúsalem Björnsson

    Keflavík Airport has been re-opened after a minor accident caused the airport to be closed shortly before six in the afternoon. The closure has caused significant delays at the airport. Nobody was hurt in the accident, which involved a plane from the Icelandic airline Primera Air skidding off the runway during landing. 

    Read more: Developing: Keflavík Airport closed after plane skids off runway due to snow, ice

    Primera Air, Keflavík Airport
    Keflavík Airport Passengers being ferried from the Primera Air flight. Photo/Metúsalem Björnsson

    The accident took place on the North/South runway of the airport. Since the East/West runway is closed, due to maintenance the accident meant both runways were closed. The plane, which was carrying a group of Icelandic travellers returning from Alicante in Spain. It is not known what caused the plane to skid off the runway, but airport authorities suspect the culprit is heavy snow and icing on the runways. 

    Nobody was hurt, and the plane was not damaged. Airport authorities are still working on towing the plane back onto the runway. 

    At 20:00 the airport managed to open the East/West runway, which had been closed due to maintenance, after plowing and de-icing the runway. 

    According to the local news site Vísir the accident and closing of the airport has caused significant delays to traffic. A plane from the Polish airline Wizz Air, which was scheduled to land at 18:00 was forced to return to Poland. A second Wizz Air plane which was scheduled to depart at 17:20 was delayed to 23:30. 

    Primera Air, Keflavík Airport
    Heavy snow Conditions at Keflavík Airport Photo/HS

     

  • General

    Developing: Keflavík Airport closed after plane skids off runway due to snow, ice

    By Staff

    Keflavík Airport The airport is closed after a plane skidded off the runway during landing. Photo/Isavia

    Keflavík International Airport has been closed ot traffic after a plane from the Icelandic airline Primera Air skidded off the runway upon landing. The cause of the accident is likely heavy snowfall and ice on the runway. Nobody was injured in the accident. 

    The accident took place shortly before 17:45. Airport staff is working to re-open the runway.

    A spokesman for the airport who spoke to the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service said that the passengers are still on-board the plane, but that nobody was hurt, although many were shaken by the incident. The cause of the accident is not known, but airport authorities believe difficult weather conditions are the most likely culprit.

    The accident caused the North/South runway to be closed. The other major runway, the East/West runway is closed due to maintenance.

    The next plane scheduled to land at Keflavík, a passenger jet flying from the Polish airline Wizz Air, flying in from Katowice, is scheduled to land at 20:00.

    Update: 18:42 The passengers on board the Primera Air flight have been allowed to leave the plane, the local news site Vísir reports. The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service spoke to a passenger on the plane who said it felt as if the plane didn't brake or slow down after landing. The plane will have to be towed back onto the runway before the runway can be re-opened.

    Update: 19:40 RÚV now reports that all 137 passengers have been allowed to leave the Primera Air plane and are now being cared for at the terminal. The airport is still closed.

  • Business

    Rising occupancy ratios at Icelandic hotels: Slower growth in number of overnight stays

    By Staff

    Busy building more hotels Most of the construction in downtown Reykjavík is for new hotels. Rising occupancy ratios and continued demand mean that the city will face a hotel shortage if new hotels aren't built. Photo/Vilhelm.

    Overnight stays at hotels in March 2017 increased by 17%, compared to March 2016. Foreign visitors accounted for the vast majority of overnight stays, 88% in March, similar to previous months. The total number of overnight stays over the past 12 months, April 2016-March 2017 increased by 32% compared to the previous 12 month period.  

    Slower growth in March
    According to figures from Statistics Iceland the year-over-year increase is smaller than at the same time last year, when the number had jumped by 34%, compared to the year before. The year-over-year increase is also significantly lower than in previous months, February saw a 21% increase over the previous year, January saw a 43% increase and December a staggering 56% year-over-year increase.

    Read more: Construction of new hotels in Reykjavík continues apace: 50% more hotel rooms by 2020

    The occupancy rate for bedrooms in hotels increased in March compared to March 2016. This year the ratio was 73.3%, an increase of 4.3 points from March 2016, when it was 69.0%. The occupancy rate for bedrooms was highest in the capital region, or 91.1%.

  • Nature

    Monster volcano Bárðarbunga continues to tremble: A sharp earthquake swarm this morning

    By Staff

    Bárðarbunga One of Iceland's most powerful volcanos is hidden beneath the N.W. corner of Vatnajökull glacier. Photo/IMO

    A sharp earthquake swarm, including a 3.0 magnitude earthquake was detected in Bárðarbunga caldera early morning. Four 2-3 magnitude quakes shook the N.E. edge of the caldera between 4:55 and 5:15. The epicenter of the largest, a 3.0 magnitude quake, was just below the surface, at a depth of 100 m (330 ft). The other quakes took place at a greater depth.

    Read more: All of Iceland‘s major volcanoes showing unusually high levels of activity

    Earthquakes 28.4.17
    Earthquakes 28.4.17 The Green star shows the epicenter of today's swarm Photo/IMO

    The Icelandic Meteorological Office has been recording significant activity in the monster volcano in recent months. A similar earthquake swarm was recorded earlier this week in the S.E. part of the caldera. 

    "Small" volcanic earthquakes are signs of significant activity
    While an earthquake swarm with 2-3 magnitude sounds rather insignificant when compared to the major earthquakes like those which hit areas near tectonic fault lines, like those in California or Italy, they are actually quite significant when they take place in volcanoes. Volcanic earthquakes tend to be smaller than earthquakes at the fault lines of continental shelves. In the case of volcanic earthquakes the tremors are caused by magma being thrust from the mantle up into the crust, rather than by the release of tension built up along the plate boundary.

    In this case, it the magma chambers of Bárðarbunga are filling up again after the 2014 Holuhraun eruption. The Bárðarbunga volcano has generated some of the largest volcanic eruptions in Icelandic history. If the central volcano were to erupt its impact could be far greater than the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

     

  • General

    British journalist who lost his favorite Icelandic woolen hat to get a tailor-made replacement

    By Staff

    Godfrey and the hat A British journalist who had grown extremely attached to his 66°N woolen hat sent out a desperate plea for help yesterday. Photo/Vísir.

    Yesterday a British travel journalist, Godfrey Hall, published a desperate plea in the local newspaper Morgunblaðið. Some years ago Godfrey had purchased a woolen hat in Iceland: A black "Katla" cap from the outdoor-wear maker 66°N. Godfrey grew extremely attached to the hat, so much so that it became inseparable from his public image and "brand", since he wore the hat on countless photographs taken during his trips.

    Read more: British journalist sends out desperate appeal to Icelanders: Seeks help finding a woolen hat

    When he then lost the hat he therefore sought to buy a replacement from the Icelandic outdoor-wear maker, only to discover the hat was no longer being manufactured. Godfrey therefore appealed to Icelanders to check if anyone was willing to depart with an old hat of the same type. The unusual story got some attention on Icelandic social media.

    A new tailor-made replacement
    Before any locals could find Godfrey an old worn replacement the manufacturer of the hat had jumped in, promising to make him a special tailor-made replacement at the company's knitting factory in Reykjavík.

    A spokesman for the company told the local news site Vísir that the hat hadn't been in production for several years, but that the design was still on file:

    "We have found the design, and we have sent instructions to our factory has started work on knitting a new hat based on this design. The type of hat, Katla, has not been in production for several years, and we don't have any examples left in stock."

    He explained that the company felt obliged to help Godfrey, because of how attached he had grown to the hat.

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