Reykjavík Iceland’s downtown airport

At the dawn of the jet age non-stop transatlantic flights became increasingly viable, and the thrum of mighty piston engines left the downtown airport in Reykjavík forever. Today it is at the centre of a network of short-haul turboprop flights, but faces an uncertain future, as Martyn Cartledge found out.

Reykjavík is the most northerly capital on the globe. It is in the southwest corner of the most sparsely populated country in Europe, a 40,000sq miles (103,000km2) island inhabited by 330,000 Icelanders. Almost two-thirds live in the city’s environs, while much of the landscape is rugged, and dotted with hot springs, sulphur beds, geysers, lava fields, canyons, glaciers and waterfalls. There are around 200 volcanoes scattered across the landscape including the most notorious, Eyjafjallajökull, which caused wide-spread disruption to air travel across Europe when it erupted in 2010.

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