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Icelandair announces direct service to Seattle


Icelandair, a subsidiary of Icelandair Group, introduces four direct scheduled flights a week to Seattle, starting July 22. The service will generate income in foreign currency, create up to a hundred jobs and strengthen the tourist industry.

Icelandair CEO Birkir Hólm Gudnason:

“Icelandair operates a strong route network, and the company’s success is based on constant alertness, development and cost savings. The departure of SAS from the route from Scandinavia to Seattle this summer will create an opportunity for Icelandair; owing to Iceland’s geographic location, we can utilize our Boeing 757s for the flights, which are much smaller and more efficient than the wide-bodies currently flying between Seattle and Europe. With the stopover in Iceland, passengers choose a number of European cities, as in the case of Icelandair’s other flight connections in Iceland. This puts Icelandair in a favorable competitive position on the route between Seattle and Europe, and we can offer 3-4 hours shorter flying times than others from the Scandinavian capitals and other locations. Also, in cooperation with Alaska Airlines, the largest airline in Seattle, we can offer same-day flight connections to cities such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major airports.

This new route illustrates Icelandair’s strength and flexibility. With its operations in numerous markets in Europe and North America, Icelandair is maintaining strong transport connections between Iceland and the rest of the world, even in the face of a temporary downturn in travel from Iceland. We are in fact operating in three different markets: the domestic market in Iceland, the tourist market to Iceland and the international market between Europe and North America. In the current economic climate, our focus is on bringing tourists to Iceland and participating in the international market. Passengers on the Seattle flights will mostly be from the international market. We anticipate that only about 7% of our passengers will be Icelanders; over 93% will be non-Icelandic, partly tourists destined for Iceland and partly passengers en route between the two continents.

Times are currently difficult in the international air transport sector, but Icelandair has gone against the current before. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001, demand for air travel plunged, but Icelandair seized the opportunities that came up, and in 2002 the company returned its best ever operating results while other airlines struggled. Early last year, Icelandair made extensive changes in its operations in light of the deteriorating economic climate, and on the collapse of the Icelandic banks the company changed its points of focus in its sales activities. Improved cost structure creates opportunities and the operational results for the first few months of the year are better than anticipated and Icelandair’s position is now sound.

It is a matter of special satisfaction that this decision will call for an increase in the number of job opportunities relating to the flights, and we are assuming that up to a hundred new jobs will be created in addition to the important jobs created throughout the country as a result of the increased number of tourists. Also, Seattle is an extremely attractive city and a sister city of Reykjavik.”

There will be four flights a week from Iceland, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, departing from Iceland at 17:00 and arriving in Seattle at 16:45. Flights from Seattle will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing at 15:30 and arriving in Iceland at 06:45.

Icelandair has a history of 72 years, and few international airlines have a comparable tradition of flight services between Europe and North America. At this point in its history, Icelandair is offering its customers outstanding services in three flight classes, Saga Class, Economy Comfort and Economy, with all its aircraft featuring new seats and personal entertainment systems for all passengers. Icelandair has been a participant in IATA since 1950, in AEA since 1957, and the Flight Safety Foundation since 1966.

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