WTM2010: Iceland Express to add more transatlantic connections

Iceland Express is to add Chicago and Boston to its North America destinations from June 2011 and will also increase the frequency of its flights from Reykjavik to New York to create a daily service.

The airline will offer four flights a week to Boston and a weekly service to Chicago O’Hare, though marketing director Sigurdur Valur Sigurdsson is optimistic that the latter frequency “will increase fairly soon”

Sigurdsson explained that while increased frequencies to New York come from passengers connecting from right across its European network, the new routes have been driven by demand from the UK and Denmark.

The New York route has achieved an average load factor of 92% this year. Sigurdsson acknowledged that while the winter season will be tougher, he still expects good loads. “We are seeing a lot of last minute bookings because of the low fares,” he noted.

Flow across the Atlantic, reported Sigurdsson, has been approximately 70% westbound and 30% eastbound. The airline’s European destination marketing teams are working to create more of an even split though.

While the main focus of Iceland Express has been on the transatlantic services, the European network has not been ignored. The airline is planning to add Oslo Gardermoen and Glasgow to its list of destinations. With the exit of Birmingham, Rotterdam, Geneva and Milan Bergamo, the airline will have 17 destinations in Europe next year.

Sigurdsson predicts traffic in 2010 to reach just above 550,000 across the whole system, which represents growth of around 10%.

The fleet for 2011 will comprise three Boeing 757-200s and two 737-700s, still flown on behalf of Iceland Express by Astraeus. The 757s have nine rows with extra legroom which can be booked for a fee.

Inflight service is set to change with the introduction of new handheld devices. No details are confirmed, said Sigurdsson, but he added that an announcement is “expected shortly”.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net
ExCel, London

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