Unless you have been living in a cave or on Venus (or Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður for that matter), you’ll know that entrepreneurs in Iceland started another new low-cost airline last week. The emergence of WOW air was widely reported, but in this anna.aero analysis, we dig a little deeper to discover that WOW air’s aircraft rotation plan allows for up to five more unexploited new route opportunities. European airports wishing to be part of a rush to Iceland in the footsteps of Lufthansa, easyJet and others should get on the phone PDQ.
Using two A320s leased from Avion Express (a charter and cargo company based in Vilnius, Lithuania), and (currently) configured with a modest 158 seats (LCCs usually get 180 into A320s), the carrier has revealed plans to serve Alicante (ALC), Basel (BSL), Berlin (BER), Cologne/Bonn (CGN), Copenhagen (CPH), Krakow (KRK), London Stansted (STN), Lyon (LYS), Paris (CDG), Stuttgart (STR), Warsaw (WAW) and Zurich (ZRH). Alicante, Basel, Krakow and Lyon will each be served weekly, London Stansted three times weekly, Copenhagen four times weekly, and all other destinations twice weekly. Given the sector lengths from Iceland, each aircraft can operate just two return flights per day, giving a maximum of 28 return flights per week. So far, the airline has revealed details of 23 return flights per week with aircraft ‘resting’ on Monday, Thursday and Sunday morning as well as Friday and Saturday evening.
Another Icelandic virtual LCC, Iceland Express, operated flights to seven of WOW air’s destinations this summer, the exceptions being Cologne/Bonn, Lyon, Stuttgart and Zurich. The carrier recently had to find a new provider of aircraft capacity when Astraeus, the UK airline it had been using, ceased operations. Flights are now operated on behalf of Iceland Express by CSA Holidays, a Czech Airlines subsidiary, which uses two A320s.
Iceland appears to have once again become a fashionable destination with new services for next summer already having been announced by easyJet (London Luton), Lufthansa (Berlin Brandenburg), Norwegian (Oslo), and SAS (Stockholm). Icelandair is also enjoying growth, expecting to transport a record 1.8 million passengers this year.