Icelandair is the flag service airline of Iceland, headquartered at Keflavík Worldwide Airport close to the capital metropolis Reykjavik.
It’s a part of the Icelandair Group and as of December 2020, operated scheduled providers to 34 cities in 16 international locations on either side of the Atlantic Ocean from its hub at Keflavík Worldwide Airport. The geographical place of Iceland is handy for one-stop transatlantic flights, which is one pillar of the airline’s enterprise technique, together with site visitors to and from the nation.
Flugfélag Íslands within the early a long time
Icelandair traces its roots again to 1937, when Flugfélag Akureyrar was based in Akureyri on the north coast of Iceland. Flight operations began in 1938 with a single Waco YKS-7 configured as a floatplane. In 1939 the airline was grounded when this plane was destroyed in a capsizing accident. The corporate moved to Reykjavík, the place it acquired one other Waco plane and was re-launched in 1940 as Flugfélag Íslands, which interprets as Flight Firm of Iceland. Beforehand, two unrelated airways of the identical title had existed within the nation (from 1919 to 1920, and between 1928 and 1931). For worldwide functions, the title Iceland Airways was adopted.
The fleet was expanded with a Beechcraft Mannequin 18 in 1942; and with two de Havilland Dragon Rapides and a Consolidated PBY Catalina in 1944, the latter being the primary ever plane registered in Iceland to be flown to Iceland by an Icelandic crew from North America. On 11 July 1945, this plane operated the primary business flight over the Atlantic Ocean for the airline, which led from Reykjavík to Largs in Scotland, with 4 passengers and 4 crew members on board. Common flights to Prestwick Airport in Scotland and Copenhagen in Denmark, utilizing Consolidated B-24 Liberator plane leased from Scottish Airways had been launched in 1946.
In the identical yr, consolation and efficiency of home flights in Iceland could possibly be improved with the introduction of the Douglas DC-3. A complete of six had been bought, which remained in service with the airline till 1972. Till the late 1960s, Flugfélag concentrated totally on home flights, the place it initially confronted fierce competitors from Loftleiðir, one other airline which had been based in 1944. When a merger proposal of the Icelandic authorities was rejected by the 2 airways, the home routes had been cut up amongst them as a measure to ease competitors. When Loftleiðir pulled out of the home market in 1952 to completely focus on worldwide flights, Flugfélag turned the principle home service of the nation.
Worldwide providers stayed a part of the enterprise mannequin of Flugfélag, although to a far lesser extent in comparison with Loftleiðir. In 1948, the Douglas DC-Four was launched on these routes, and in 1957 two new Vickers 759 Viscounts had been acquired, the primary turboprop airliners to be operated by an Icelandic airline. Within the 1950s, Flugfélag started to make use of the ‘Icelandair’ branding for its worldwide flights.
In 1967, Flugfélag was the primary Icelandic airline to hitch the jet age, when a Boeing 727-100 dubbed Gullfaxi was put into service. One other 727 was acquired in 1971, and the plane sort was operated till 1990. In 2008, the cockpit part of Gullfaxi was placed on show on the Akureyri Aviation Museum.
One other firm, Loftleiðir, known as Icelandic Airways internationally, had been fashioned in 1944 by three younger pilots getting back from their flight coaching in Canada. Their firm, whose title roughly means “Skyways”, targeting Icelandic home air providers for the primary few years. The primary plane used had been two Stinson Reliants, after which a Grumman Gooseamphibious plane.
At first, Loftleiðir, like Flugfélag Íslands, targeting home air providers. Loftleiðir started scheduled worldwide operations in 1947.
By 1952, the Icelandic authorities had been very anxious that fierce competitors between each Icelandic airways would spoil each corporations, and tried to drive a merger between them. This didn’t occur on the time, however as an alternative the authorities cut up up the home routes between the 2 airways. Consequently, Loftleiðir ceased home flights in Iceland completely, concentrating as an alternative on worldwide flights. Loftleiðir’s pioneering low-fare providers throughout the North-Atlantic then commenced in 1953. In a method, Loftleiðir may even be thought-about a kind of precursor of the low-cost carriers that began popping up all around the globe within the 1970s, specifically the long-haul funds service like Norwegian Air Shuttle. This made it a well-liked airline for journey between Europe and North America.
The late 1960s had been an thrilling time for Loftleiðir. In 1969 the corporate acquired Worldwide Air Bahama, a small airline working Douglas DC-Eight jet plane out of the Bahamas with transatlantic nonstop service between Nassau and Luxembourg, and a yr later Loftleiðir turned one of many founders of Cargolux, a cargo airline. Additionally in 1970, Loftleiðir entered the jet age with its first two Douglas DC-Eight plane.
Throughout these years, Loftleiðir was usually referred to, even by the corporate’s personal workers, as “the Hippie Airline” and even “the Hippie Categorical”. Loftleiðir was not well-known for pace or punctuality, however flying with the corporate turned a kind of ceremony of passage for younger “hippies” from America travelling to Europe, certainly one of whom was future president of the USA Invoice Clinton.
Merger with Loftleiðir
In the course of the 1970s vitality disaster, the financial scenario for each Flugfélag and Loftleiðir worsened. The federal government of Iceland initiated a brand new try and merge the 2 airways, which could possibly be realized in 1973 following prolonged and tough negotiations. In 1975, the Icelandic authorities offered a $13.5 million mortgage to Flugleiðir. The workers of Loftleiðir complained that Flugfélag, though smaller, had gained the higher hand within the united firm. A holding firm known as Flugleiðir was created, which mixed the 2 corporations and started to streamline workers and operations. On the time of the merger, two thirds of the passenger site visitors of the airline had been worldwide transatlantic crossings, and Flugfélag’s fleet of Douglas DC-3s and Boeing 727s was enlarged by the Douglas DC-8s of Loftleiðir. In 1979, the 2 airways Flugfélag Íslands and Loftleiðir merged into one airline Flugleiðir, and the airline was renamed Icelandair.
In 1980, the Icelandic authorities offered a mortgage to Icelandair because of the firm’s unhealthy monetary scenario.
The plane fleet of Icelandair remained primarily unchanged till the Boeing 757-200 turned the brand new spine for transatlantic flights in the course of the 1990s. The home Fokker F27s had been changed by Fokker 50s and Boeing 737s deployed on European routes. The European hub at Luxembourg Airport had been taken over from Loftleiðir. Passenger depend topped a million in 1997 as the corporate’s enterprise grew on a status as a “backpacker airline”, just like Loftleiðir, which had been known as “Hippie Airline” for the reason that late 1960s. In the identical yr, it was begun to dismantle the Luxemburg hub in favor of right this moment’s decentralized European community, linking the most important cities continuous to Reykjavík, closing it down altogether by 1999.
In 1997 the home operations of Icelandair, a part of which had beforehand been operated underneath the ‘Flugfélag Nordurlands’ branding, had been mixed with small airline Nordurflug to kind the Air Iceland Join subsidiary, permitting mainline Icelandair to completely focus on worldwide flights since then. On 20 November 1999, a brand new plane livery was launched, as a part of a picture marketing campaign designed to retire Icelandair’s “backpacker” label in favor of an emphasis on enterprise journey. From 2001, the Icelandair hub was moved to Keflavík Worldwide Airport. As Icelandair notably focuses on flights to North America, the corporate was considerably affected by the airspace closure following the September 11 assaults in the identical yr.
The Flugleiðir holding was reorganized as Icelandair Group (for aviation enterprise) and FL Group (for non-aviation finance and funding enterprise) between 2002 and 2005, with Icelandair turning into the most important and most necessary of 11 subsidiaries. The wet-lease and constitution division, which was based in 2003, was named Loftleiðir Icelandic, thus re-introducing a well-known title.
Developments since 2010
Like most Icelandic corporations, Icelandair was hit fairly laborious by the 2008 monetary disaster within the nation, however was nicely on the street to restoration when one other disaster of a really totally different type hit in 2010. The air site visitors restrictions following the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull resulted in giant components of the European airspace being closed down. The air journey disruption coincided with the beginning of the necessary summer time season for the corporate. The in-house disaster administration group started assessing the scenario as soon as the dimensions of the issue had turn out to be identified. Thrice-daily disaster conferences had been held on the airline’s headquarters. Icelandair tried to function as many passenger flights as potential, conserving its hub at Keflavík open and diverting European flights to airports that had been nonetheless open. The eventual closure of Keflavík because of the volcanic ash cloud coincided with an enchancment of the scenario in the direction of Europe, which allowed Icelandair to maneuver its headquarters with 200 workers to Glasgow and function flights from there for ten days, with shuttle flights to Iceland’s Akureyri Airport and round the clock bus shuttles onwards to Reykjavík.
Within the aftermath of the eruption, the federal government of Iceland launched the profitable “Impressed by Iceland” marketing campaign to regain confidence in travelling to Iceland for vacationers and enterprise individuals, of which Icelandair was a number one participant and initiator.
When the Grímsvötn volcano erupted in 2011, Icelandair as soon as once more had to deal with airspace closures in Europe, although this time to a lesser extent resulting from a better stage of political preparedness. Weekly newspaper The Economist claimed that Icelandair might even take benefit when catering for catastrophe vacationers.
In February 2011 Icelandair was chosen “The Information Firm” of the yr and Icelandair CEO Birkir Hólm Guðnason was picked as “Man of the 12 months” within the Icelandic enterprise neighborhood. In each classes the panel of judges of the Affiliation of Economists and Enterprise Graduates in Iceland stated that “the wonderful outcomes of the corporate within the earlier yr confirmed each a excessive diploma of ability and specialist data inside the firm in addition to wonderful management.” In October of the identical yr, the airline was awarded the title “Advertising and marketing Agency of the 12 months in Iceland”, by a judging panel from IMARK, the Advertising and marketing Affiliation in Iceland.
Additional route enlargement
After having launched scheduled flights to Washington, D.C., in 2011, Denver was introduced as a brand new U.S. vacation spot for 2012, adopted by Anchorage in 2013, bringing the overall variety of cities served within the nation as much as eight, together with Boston, Minneapolis, New York Metropolis, Orlando and Seattle. Additionally in 2012, Icelandair resumed home providers, with common flights linking Akureyri to its Keflavík hub by way of subsidiary firm Air Iceland.
Operations have doubled over a five-year interval. New locations in 2014 had been Edmonton and Vancouver in Canada; and Geneva. Twice weekly flights to Vancouver commenced on 13 Might 2014 and continued till October that yr. Flights to Edmonton began on Four March 2014, with a year-round service working 5 instances per week. The Geneva service began on 24 Might 2014 and continued twice weekly till September.
On 9 December 2014, Icelandair revealed a northern lights themed Boeing 757-200 (registration TF-FIU) named Hekla Aurora. The plane was formally launched in February 2015 as a part of the corporate’s #MyStopover marketing campaign. The outside, which was hand-painted by a group of extremely expert airbrush artists from the UK, options art work depicting an Icelandic winter scene full with the Aurora Borealis. An set up of LED temper lighting within the cabin continues the theme by emulating each the colors and dancing patterns of the aurora. As a part of Icelandair’s transatlantic fleet, the Hekla Aurora flies to all the airline’s 40 locations and has a three-day schedule obtainable for passengers and observers.
On 5 February 2015, Birmingham turned Icelandair’s fifth gateway within the UK, and the 39th general, with flights working twice weekly, on Thursdays and Mondays. On 19 Might 2015, Icelandair launched scheduled flights to and from Portland, Oregon within the US: its 14th vacation spot in North America. Flights had been set to function twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, till 20 October. Additional enlargement of Icelandair’s world community was introduced on 12 Might 2015 with new, year-round providers from Chicago O’Hare Worldwide Airport. Providers commenced on 16 March 2016, with flights to Iceland working 4 days per week.
On 17 August 2015 Icelandair introduced the augmentation of its world flight community with a brand new service between Keflavik and Aberdeen, the corporate’s second Scottish vacation spot. The brand new service, operated by Air Iceland Join (a subsidiary of Icelandair Group), commenced in March the next yr, with flights scheduled 4 instances per week.
Icelandair commenced scheduled flights to Paris Orly Airport starting on 29 March 2016. Providers to Montreal Airport started on 26 Might 2016.
In September 2016, Icelandair introduced providers to Philadelphia, US, beginning in Might 2017 and Tampa, US beginning in Sep 2017.
In Might 2017, Icelandair unveiled a glacier-themed particular livery on Boeing 757-200 (registration TF-FIR) named Vatnajökull, the title of Europe’s largest glacier. The particular livery was created in an effort to commemorate Icelandair’s 80th anniversary.
In August 2017, Icelandair introduced service 5 days per week to Cleveland, US, which started on Might 16, 2018.
Because the 1960s, Icelandair has supplied passengers travelling on transatlantic flights between North America and Europe a chance to stopover in Iceland for as much as seven days, at no further price. In an effort to increase consciousness about its stopover provide, the corporate launched a brand new social media initiative in 2014, with the hashtag #MyStopover.
In August 2017, the Cape Verdean authorities signed an settlement with Loftleiðir Icelandic, a part of the Icelandair Group, which turned the administration of TACV to the Icelandic group. The brand new administration plans embrace discontinue the hub at Praia Worldwide Airport focusing all the airline’s operations at Amílcar Cabral Worldwide Airport and from there function a connecting hub between the Americas, Europe and Africa.
On 5 November 2017, the corporate Icelandair (the brand new TACV administrator) handed the primary Boeing 757-200 to TACV to bolster current routes, comparable to every day flights to Lisbon, Fortaleza and Recife (which will increase to Four weekly flights as of December 3).
On 9 January 2018, Icelandair introduced that it could present three continuous flights per week from Kansas Metropolis Worldwide Airport to Keflavík Worldwide Airport, which commenced on 25 Might 2018.
Icelandair commenced 4 weekly flights to and from Dallas Ft. Value on 30 Might 2018. It ended on 6 March 2019.
On 5 November 2018, Icelandair introduced plans to take over its low-cost competitor, WOW air, with the 2 airways to be operated as separate manufacturers. On 29 November, Icelandair deserted this endeavour because the shareholders’ assembly pre-conditions had been unlikely to be met.
Icelandair affords three reserving lessons: Financial system Gentle, Financial system, and Saga Class (the final being equal to enterprise class). Free meals are solely obtainable in Saga Class, and a purchase on board service is offered for the Financial system lessons. The airline supplied Financial system Consolation till April 2018.
All of Icelandair’s plane are outfitted with a freed from cost AVOD in-flight leisure system that features seatback, touch-screen screens for every passenger. The airline claims to be particularly children-friendly. Free meals, blankets, pillows and headsets are offered to youngsters, and the inflight system hosts a choice of youngsters’s motion pictures.
Virtually all of Icelandair’s fleet is supplied with in-flight WiFi, offered by Row 44 and Zodiac Inflight Improvements. The set up of WiFi in all of the airline’s B757-200/300 was accomplished in 2015.
Particular help is offered for travelling with pets, younger travellers and infants, and particular service, for instance for blind individuals with seeing-eye canine, expectant moms, wheelchair service, POC methods.
Icelandair Data, the inflight journal of Icelandair, is printed 4 instances a yr in Icelandic and English. First printed in 2008, it is usually the product catalogue for the airline’s Saga Store. The frequent flyer program of the airline known as Saga Membership.
On 1 April 2013 Icelandic band Sigur Rós debuted its newest album, Valtari, solely onboard Icelandair’s plane, two months earlier than the album’s basic launch. Biophilia, Björk’s 2011 album, had earlier been launched on Icelandair’s fleet in the identical method.
Icelandair flies from Iceland to 22 locations in Europe and 12 locations in North America. A number of of those locations are seasonal.
Icelandair codeshares with the next airways:
At present, Icelandair’s Saga Membership solely allow passengers of Air Iceland Join, Alaska Airways and JetBlue to earn factors, however Air Iceland Join and Alaska Airways are the one airways that capable of redeem factors.
As of October 2020[update], Icelandair operates an all Boeing fleet. A lot of the plane in Icelandair’s fleet are named after Icelandic volcanoes.
In 2005, the airline, on behalf of its mother or father firm Icelandair Group, introduced an order for ten Boeing 737-800 plane with choices for 5 extra. These choices had been later exercised. These weren’t positioned into service by the airline however leased to different airways. Throughout that very same yr, Icelandair introduced an order for 2 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. In 2006, Icelandair introduced an order for 2 extra Boeing 787s. In 2011, it was introduced that orders for 3 of the 787s had been cancelled.
On 13 February 2013, Icelandair Group introduced that the corporate had finalized an order with Boeing for sixteen new Boeing 737 MAX plane. Buy rights for eight further 737s had additionally been signed. The worth for all sixteen plane was US$1.6 billion at Boeing record costs, however the precise buy worth was confidential. The plane will likely be delivered in 2018–2021. The order is for 9 737 MAX 8s configured for 153 passengers; and 7 737 MAX 9s to carry 172 passengers. As compared, Icelandair Group’s present Boeing 757-200 plane maintain 183 passengers.
On Eight Might 2019, Icelandair introduced that the corporate was contemplating ordering the Airbus A321neo and Airbus A321LR as a substitute for his or her getting old fleet of Boeing 757s, or to run alongside their Boeing 737 MAX Eight or to even change the MAX 8s completely, because of the Boeing 737 MAX groundings.
On 22 January, 2020 Icelandair introduced that the airline would lease three Boeing 737-800 airliners to enter service from spring 2020. The plane will likely be dry leased and flown by Icelandair pilots.
On 12 August, 2020 Icelandair reached a settlement with Boeing over the MAX groundings. The settlement included slashing the service’s order for future MAX plane by 4.
As of September 2018, Icelandair operates Three plane with ‘particular’ liveries. Two depict the pure great thing about Iceland, one showcasing the most important glacier in Europe: Vatnajökull, in addition to celebrating the independence of Iceland for 100 years, whereas the opposite highlights the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), additionally being a part of Icelandair’s #IcelandStopover marketing campaign. The third plane (Boeing B757 TF-ISX ‘Þingvellir’) is painted within the crimson, white, and blue livery of Iceland’s flag and celebrates each the 100th anniversary of Icelandic Nationwide Sovereignty (1918-2018) and the Nationwide Males’s Soccer Workforce’s World Cup debut in 2018.
Through the years, the airline operated the next plane sorts:
Icelandair Cargo is a sister airline to Icelandair; it’s Icelandair Group’s cargo airline subsidiary. Flugfélag Íslands and Loftleiðir used their plane to hold freight in addition to passengers; and when Icelandair was established in 1973 a freight division was arrange inside the airline. After years of working freighter plane as a part of Icelandair, Icelandair Cargo was established as a separate entity in 2000. The airline makes use of obtainable house within the baggage compartments of Icelandair’s passenger plane, in addition to working two Boeing 757 freighters between New York, Keflavik, East Midlands within the UK and Liège in Belgium.
As of December 2017 the Icelandair Cargo fleet consists of the next plane:
As certainly one of Iceland’s largest corporations, Icelandair sponsors many occasions and charities. The corporate is, along with the Metropolis of Reykjavík, certainly one of two primary sponsors of the immensely standard Iceland Airwaves, the annual music pageant held in Reykjavík on the primary weekend in November.
The pageant spans 5 days (Wednesday–Sunday) and its primary focus is showcasing new music, each Icelandic and worldwide.
Accidents and incidents
- 29 Might 1947
- A Flugfélag Islands Douglas DC-3 (registered TF-ISI) crashed close to Hjedinsfjordur throughout a scheduled home flight from Reykjavík to Akureyri, killing the 21 passengers and Four crew on board. Thus far, this stays the worst aviation accident in Iceland.
- 7 March 1948
- an Avro Anson Mk5 belonging to Loftleiðir crashed on the mountain Skálafell en route from the Westmann Islands (Vestmannaeyjar) to Reykjavík, killing the pilot and the 5 passengers on board.
- 31 January 1951
- the seventeen passengers and three crew members on board a DC-Three registered TF-ISG had been killed when the plane crashed within the sea off the Icelandic coast close to Hafnarfjörður. The pilots had been making an attempt to land the plane at Reykjavík Airport in heavy snowfalls following a flight from Vestmannaeyjar, when radar contact was misplaced.
- 14 April 1963
- a Vickers Viscount (registered TF-ISU) crashed on method to Oslo-Fornebu Airport. All 12 individuals on board had been killed.
- 26 September 1970
- a Flugfélag Fokker F27 Friendship (registered TF-FIL) crashed right into a mountain close to Vágar, Faroe Islands whereas approaching Vágar Airport following a scheduled passenger flight from Bergen, in what is called managed flight into terrain. Of the 34 individuals on board, 7 passengers and 1 crew member had been killed.
- 15 November 1978
- As a consequence of a fault within the ground-based instrument touchdown system transmitter, a Douglas DC-Eight registered TF-FLA missed the runway whereas making an attempt to land at Colombo Airport in Sri Lanka throughout a chartered Hajj pilgrimage flight from Jeddah and crashed, killing Eight of the 13 Icelandic crew members, 5 reserve crew members and 170 (largely Indonesian) Muslim pilgrims from South Borneo, out of a complete of 262 passengers and crew (74 passengers and 5 crew members survived the accident). The catastrophe of Icelandic Airways Flight LL 001 (a Loftleiðir flight quantity, however the firm had merged with Flugfélag at the moment) with its 183 fatalities marks by far the worst accident within the historical past of Icelandic aviation.
- 22 January 2002
- the crew of Icelandair Flight 315, a Boeing 757-200 registered TF-FIO with 75 passengers on board, unintentionally entered a sequence of maximum manoeuvres throughout a go-around from a low altitude following an unstabilised method into Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. In the course of the incident the plane was subjected to load elements in extra of the design limits, culminating in a dive adopted by a +3.59 g pull up manoeuvre clearing the bottom by solely 321 ft. The pace restrict for the flap configuration was additionally exceeded. Management was regained and a second method was flown with the plane touchdown safely. The airliner was permitted to proceed on its subsequent scheduled flights with out a technical inspection being carried out till 13 March of that yr when its producer Boeing advisable additional upkeep work after having evaluated the readings from the flight knowledge recorder. The Accident Investigation Board Norway, which led the investigation into the incident, made 4 security suggestions, together with one to the broader aviation neighborhood on operational procedures concerning discontinued approaches.
- 7 February 2020
- Icelandair flight 529, a Boeing 757-200 registered TF-FIA suffered a right-hand primary touchdown gear collapse after touchdown on runway 10 at Keflavík Worldwide Airport, Iceland. There have been no accidents among the many 166 passengers.
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