Iceland Express starts new routes to US, Canada and EU this week; serves 24 airports in summer, just seven in winter
Since anna.aero last looked at Iceland’s very own low-cost carrier, privately-owned Iceland Express has added several new routes and this week celebrates its first services to North America with the launch of flights to New York’s Newark airport (four times weekly) and Winnipeg in Canada (twice-weekly). Various companies have provided the airline with aircraft since the airline launched in 2003 but, at present, London-based Astraeus is providing five aircraft to the airline this summer, comprising two 757-200s, two 737-700s and a single 737-300.
Apart from Newark and Winnipeg, the airline has also started new European routes this week to Gdansk, Milan Bergamo and Rotterdam (all weekly), though a planned weekly service to Birmingham has been postponed for the moment. This brings to 22 the number of destinations served in Europe by the airline in summer. The only year-round services are to Alicante, Berlin, Copenhagen, Friedrichshafen, London Gatwick, London Stansted and Warsaw. The rest are seasonal summer-only (June to August) routes reflecting the seasonality of demand to and from Iceland.
Only Copenhagen and London served daily
The majority of the airline’s routes are served just once or twice weekly. The exceptions are Alicante, Berlin and Warsaw (all served with three weekly flights), Newark (four times weekly) and Copenhagen and London Gatwick which are both served at least daily. The close links between Iceland and Denmark can be seen in the fact that during last week’s Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo, the Icelandic jury gave its top mark to Denmark’s entry (which eventually finished fourth).
Destinations that were served last summer but not this summer are Eindhoven and Stockholm Arlanda, while Luxembourg and Oslo both appear to have been re-instated after not operating in 2008 and 2009. Iceland Express can lay claim to being the only low-cost carrier to serve Luxembourg, a fact that should delight aviation quiz-setters everywhere.
Total traffic between Iceland and the key UK market was down 10% in 2009 to 322,000 passengers while total traffic at Iceland’s main airport at Keflavik was down almost 17% to 1.66 million passengers last year. In March of this year, Keflavik’s traffic was up 15.7% on 2009, but the local volcanic eruption resulted in passenger numbers falling 22.3% in April.