The story behind Isavia is one which includes many unique challenges and instances of change. Prior to Isavia’s foundation, the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration was responsible for the running of the country’s airport and air-navigation services with the exception of the largest airport, Keflavik International, which came within the purview of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs due to the co-located US Naval Air Station. However, in 2006, a separation of operation and oversight roles coinciding with the departure of the American defence force from Keflavik called for the integration of the country’s entire airport and air-navigation sector.
Isavia, a state-owned company, was subsequently formed to improve profitability, efficiency, and expertise, while also facilitating positive urbanisation in Iceland.
Today, the Minister of Finance is responsible for the state’s share in Isavia, the Minister of Interior is responsible for the strategic planning in collaboration with the company’s board of directors, and the Icelandic Transport Authority is responsible for the administration and safety oversight of air-transport structures and navigation.
Björn Hauksson, Managing Director of Isavia, was appointed in May 2010 after previously working as the managing director of Keflavik Airport for two years. He says that Isavia has grown considerably since 2011 and that this trend is set to continue for some time yet. While growth is ultimately a good thing, it has also presented some challenges for Björn and his team.
“What we have been seeing now is more growth at Keflavik International than we should have been seeing at all,” he explains. “The increase in the number of passengers in the past few years has been more than we ever envisaged. We are talking about a sustained 15- to 25-per-cent annual increase while the average increase in Europe has been between 3 and 7 per cent. This is what we have basically experienced since 2011 when we really started moving.”