The stunning landscapes of Iceland could soon be cheaper to reach for travelers based in North … [+]
Two months after its European launch, Icelandic airline PLAY has applied for the authorization required to fly to and from the U.S. from the Department of Transportation.
The move is no surprise, as North America has always been a part of the startup airline’s plans. Hoping to succeed where former airline WOW failed, PLAY will attempt to woo North American travelers on two fronts: a trip to Iceland and a potentially low-cost route to Europe, via Reykjavik.
The foreign air carrier permit and exemption authority application does not specify routes. However, CEO Birgir Jonsson has made no secret of the intended destinations. Boston, New York and Washington are planned, with Toronto a possible fourth.
Starting with north-east airports makes sense for the airline, which will look to optimize its fleet of 192-seat Airbus A321neo aircraft. Such destinations will allow the narrow-body planes to fly up to four segments per day, increasing efficiency for PLAY and connectivity options for its passengers.
Iceland’s PLAY has started operations in Europe with the Airbus A321neo aircraft.
At its high point, WOW flew to 17 destinations across the U.S. and Canada including Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and St Louis. While there is no indication that PLAY will follow suit, Jansson said “some surprises” may be among the route network. Jansson previously worked as WOW’s deputy CEO in its startup phase of U.S. operations.
PLAY has requested “expedited processing” of its application and hopes to launch its North American routes in time for the 2022 summer season.
If approved, PLAY is likely to compete with Icelandair on at least some of the routes. The flag carrier serves 10 destinations across North America this summer.
PLAY launched in June with seven routes between Reykjavik and Europe, a number that has now increased to nine. Destinations include key cities like London and Paris together with popular vacation spots including the Canary Islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife.
Despite an increase in Covid-19 cases in Iceland that impacted demand, airline bosses deemed its first full month a success. According to a press release, 96.2% of PLAY flights during July were on schedule. Jonsson said he was “proud of our achievements in this challenging environment.”
I was born in the U.K. but moved to Norway in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I run a website and podcast about Norway, authored the Moon Norway travel guidebook, and spend
I was born in the U.K. but moved to Norway in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I run a website and podcast about Norway, authored the Moon Norway travel guidebook, and spend my free time touring the country to discover more about the people and places of this unique corner of the world. I write for Forbes with an outsider’s inside perspective on Norway & Scandinavia.