Conventional aeroplanes gradually replaced the flying boats in the late 1940s, increasing the need for public airports. Up until this time the planes had landed in fields or on simple gravel airstrips.
Reykjavík was the only municipality in Iceland with a real airport, built by a British military unit during World War II. It was presented to the people of Iceland in a ceremony on 6 July 1946.
The British further assisted in the development of Icelandic airports when they introduced a special method of quickly building runways, which involved laying special steel runway plates on the ground and affixing them together. Reasonable landing facilities were quickly created using this method all over Iceland.