Established in 2002, Iceland Express was a low-cost carrier based in Reykjavik, Iceland. The airline's base was at Keflavík International Airport. Using a fleet of Boeing B737 aircraft, Iceland Express operated a network serving eight destinations in Scandinavia, England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Poland. The carrier suspended services on 24-Oct-2012.
Location of Iceland Express main hub (Reykjavik Keflavik International Airport)
LCCs will continue to evolve into hybrids of the original core model. CAPA and OAG consider Iceland Express fits the LCC profile and it is included in our reporting on this basis. Please note: when reporting for an airline is changed from or to LCC the historical data is not affected and it can lead to a distortion in the current reported data. Contact us if you have any queries.
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Iceland’s de facto national carrier is operating the largest schedule and the largest fleet in its 75-year history after increasing frequencies on existing routes, adding a ninth North American gateway and placing into service additional Boeing 757s. Icelandair commenced a four times weekly service from Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport to Denver in Colorado on 11-May-2012, expanding its network in North America to nine destinations (two in Canada and seven in the US). The new route to Denver is an extension of Icelandair’s expansion strategy which builds on the country's geographical location mid-way between North America and northern Europe.
The airline’s predecessor Loftleidir pioneered sixth freedom rights and low-fare trans-Atlantic travel via Iceland in 1953 and in 1990 Icelandair was the first airline to offer scheduled trans-Atlantic flights on a 757. Icelandair now operates a single fleet of 757s aircraft across its entire international network, spanning 22 destinations in Europe and North America. The single-type fleet creates significant cost efficiency in terms of maintenance and training for crew and engineers.
Located in the North Atlantic Sea, the Republic of Iceland's aviation market, like its volcanic geography, is constantly evolving. An increasing number of LCCs are attempting to enter the market. Iceland’s visibility increased significantly in the past few of years - for the wrong reasons - as the volcanic eruptions of the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull volcano caused mass-disruption for the European air transportation industry and as the national economy faced meltdown during the global financial crisis.
Aviation in Iceland is in the headlines again. From Jun-2012, a new LCC WOW Air is launching operations from Reykjavik Keflavik International Airport, the country’s main international gateway and home for national carrier Icelandair and Iceland Express, currently the sole LCC in the Icelandic market. WOW Air plans to operate two 158-seat A320 equipment leased from Avion Express, a Lithuanian cargo and charter carrier.
The carrier’s initial network will consist of 12 services to destinations across Europe including Alicante, Basel, Berlin, Cologne, Copenhagen, London Stansted, Lyon, Paris, Stuttgart and Zurich. WOW Air’s first service will be three times weekly Reykjavik Keflavik-London Stansted commencing 01-Jun-2012.
Ryanair has been cancelling or suspending services at a wide range of airports across Europe, including in countries where it is growing. Is there any discernible strategy here or is it no more than coincidence, as a result of too many disagreements with airports? What future prospects are there for smaller airports when Ryanair decides to quit?
Icelandair will increase scheduled services by 17% in 2011. The carrier will fly to a record 31 cities with the increased capacity estimated to create 200 jobs directly related to Icelandair’s operations, in addition to related jobs in tourism. In peak season, Icelandair will offer 183 flights per week. This is the latest in a series of announcements from the flag carrier that suggests it has surmounted the very serious difficulties posed by the country’s financial collapse, including a return to the Baltimore – Washington region that it vacated in 2008.
Bournemouth (UK) based Palmair announced that it intends to suspend all services at Bournemouth Airport for the months of Nov-2010, Dec-2010 and Jan-2011, citing poor advance bookings for winter, but hopes to produce a reduced winter timetable from Feb-2011 onwards. Despite this temporary setback Palmair, which claims to be Britain’s oldest tour operator, is one of the industry’s survivors, having been in business as the ‘in-house’ airline of a travel agent and tour operator, Bath Travel, since 1958 – 52 years.
The announcement last week from Ryanair that it intends to include Larnaca, Cyprus in its list of destinations raises some interesting questions. Not least amongst them is, just how far can LCCs travel using the business model that is in place now? So far Ryanair has shied away from long haul (transatlantic) operations, which its management knows would require a significant adjustment to the short/mid haul model, though it still insists it will do it one day. It seems Ryanair (or Michael O’Leary) has spoken to airport management in the U.S., for example Niagara Falls airport, about hosting the first route. Now it appears though that Ryanair may be looking at tapping into the Middle East market, by using Larnaca as a base.