Busy Christmas Day ahead for Iceland’s international airport

25 December was always a day off for Keflavík International Airport (KEF) in Iceland, with an empty flight schedule and a closed terminal. Two years ago, one flight arrived and departed in the afternoon. This year, around 1,000 passengers are expected.

Iceland was always the exception to rule when it came to Christmas day air travel, reports Iceland travel and tourism news website Turisti.is (link in Icelandic).

Major airports in the Nordics and the world over have full flight schedules on 25 December, but Iceland has always closed its international airport on that one day of the year.

The trend was bucked in 2014 when British airline easyJet sent one jet to Iceland from Geneva on the afternoon of Christmas Day, which departed a couple of hours later. The airline did not repeat the experiment last year.

This year, however, three airlines are planning to fly to Iceland on Christmas Day. The three jets have a total capacity of around 600 seats, meaning 700-1,000 passengers are expected to need to use KEF on 25 December.

First is a Delta Air Lines flight from New York landing first thing in the morning and departing around 9am. Then comes an Airberlin service from Dusseldorf around midday, and finally a second Airberlin flight from Berlin, landing around 3:30pm.

It will not just be airport and security staff that will be called in to work on Christmas Day, but also shop workers as shops in the departure lounge are expected to open, and transport staff as passengers will need to make their way to the airport for their flights out of Iceland.

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