The new low-cost airline PLAY from Iceland has now been in the air for six months and during these months in operation, the airline flew 101,053 passengers on more than 1,000 flights.
It is not only Norway that got a new airline during the pandemic, but also our neighboring country out in the Atlantic has been able to establish itself. Even though the Icelandic low-cost airline PLAY has only been in the air for 6 months, there is a lot of experience in aviation among its employees. Many come from the bankrupt airline WOW air, which interrupted its operation the year before the pandemic.
But there are several similarities with the former airline WOW air. Partly the choice of aircraft which is a unified fleet of Airbus A320 and A321.In September, PLAY signed an agreement with GECAS, a major international aircraft lessor for three A320neo and one A321NX narrowbody aircraft. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between autumn 2022 and spring 2023.
In August, PLAY also signed a Letter of Intent with another major aircraft lessor for two A320neo that is scheduled to arrive in spring 2022 in time for the change to a hub-and-spoke business model.
This is also a similar business model that previously WOW Air also had. The hub and spoke model refers to a distribution method in which a centralized ”hub” exists, which means that Iceland will be a distribution hub for passengers who want to cross the Atlantic at a low price.
On December 16, PLAY launched ticket sales for flights to and from Boston and Washington, D.C. in the United States. Flights to Baltimore / Washington International Airport (BWI) will start on April 20, 2022, and flights to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) will start on May 11, 2022.
Like other airlines, the Icelandic airline PLAY had its best month in October. With a load factor of 67.7%, which is to be compared with the Norwegian airline Flyr, which also started its traffic at the end of June 2021, Flyr presented 61% as its load factor.
PLAY’s load factor for the full half-year landed at 53.2%.
“As we close a very eventful first year of operations, we are very encouraged and full of energy for the coming year. The business environment for all airlines has been challenging but we have been able to increase our market share and get PLAY into a very favorable market position to be able to enjoy the coming market growth, especially as we expand into the transatlantic market in the spring,” says Birgir Jónsson, CEO of PLAY.
“ We have been operating in a relatively small and defined market during our first six months and to be able to gain the trust of more than 100,000 people in a very challenging business environment should not be taken for granted and is a major achievement. We are very pleased to see that our strategy of offering the most competitive prices in the market and having a digital-first marketing and sales strategy is working brilliantly as we are seeing healthy bookings in our entry into the transatlantic market.
We have already built a foundation of a truly great team of people within PLAY, a team that is very ambitious and professional with a very strong drive to succeed.
2021 was a year of many major milestones and victories for PLAY and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the PLAY team to meet new challenges and continue our success story in the coming year, ”says Birgir Jónsson.
In 2022, PLAY will serve 24 destinations in Europe and North America. Among the destinations in Europe, we find Trondheim, Stavanger, Gothenburg, and the only Nordic capital on their route network, Copenhagen.
With more aircraft on the way in, more news about new destinations will surely follow into the year.