In March 2020 we learned that Icelandair and Air Iceland Connect would be integrated. There’s now an update on this, as passengers will start to benefit from this as of next week.
In this post:
Air Iceland Connect & Icelandair integration
For some background, Icelandair and Air Iceland Connect are both owned by Icelandair Group:
- Icelandair is the international airline, operating flights with 767s, 757s, and 737 MAXs out of Keflavik Airport
- Air Iceland Connect is the domestic and regional airline, operating Bombardier Q200s and Q400s out of Reykjavik Airport, to domestic destinations and Greenland
As was previously announced, Air Iceland Connect operations will be integrated into Icelandair operations:
- All supporting functions, like sales, marketing, operations, finance, HR, and IT, will be integrated into Icelandair’s operations
- Air Iceland Connect will maintain a separate Air Operators Certificate (AOC), and the crews will remain on separate contracts
- The role of Managing Director of Air Iceland Connect will be discontinued, though Air Iceland Connect’s former MD will become the MD of Iceland Travel, also a subsidiary of Icelandair Group
The latest update is that the integration will officially happen as of March 16, 2021. As of that date it will be possible to book a ticket through Icelandair that includes travel on Air Iceland Connect. This would get you access to domestic destinations within Iceland, as well as Greenland.
Icelandair’s new routemap (including Air Iceland Connect destinations)
Air Iceland Connect will continue to operate out of Reykjavik Airport, so you’ll have to collect your own bags and change airports if transiting, which isn’t terribly convenient.
What are the practical implications of this?
Presumably on some level this integration is a money saving measure — both airlines have the same parent company, and it’s probably more efficient to run many of the operational and management functions centrally.
At the same time, I’ve long thought that there was a lot of potential for the two airlines to work more closely together from a passenger experience standpoint:
- Icelandair is a globally recognized brand, so to me it seems like there could be value in using that branding for the regional airline as well, like Icelandair Connect, or something
- I understand the logistics of Reykjavik Airport being most convenient for domestic flights (since it’s closer to the city), while Keflavik Airport is the primary international airport, though this has also limited any connection opportunities
- Icelandair has a robust stopover program, so you’d think they could do a better job allowing passengers to book itineraries involving travel on both Icelandair and Air Iceland Connect
Icelandair is promising more benefits for frequent flyer program members and passengers, so I’ll be curious to see just how well the airlines are integrated as of next week, in terms of pricing, the stopover program, etc.
Pre-coronavirus I really wanted to visit Greenland, and in one direction wanted to travel via Iceland, on Air Iceland Connect, connecting to Icelandair. This is the most direct way to get from Greenland to the US. Yet there was no easy way to book that as a single ticket. Hopefully that will be changing shortly.
Air Iceland Connect Q400
Air Iceland Connect is being integrated into Icelandair, and decisions are expected to be made more centrally, as many Air Iceland Connect functions are being taken over by Icelandair.
On top of that, as of March 16, 2021, it will be possible to book itineraries involving travel on Air Iceland Connect directly through Icelandair. Here’s to hoping that this integration is pretty seamless from a customer standpoint — changing airports is annoying enough, so I hope the pricing and stopover policies are at least attractive.
What are you expecting from Air Iceland Connect being integrated into Icelandair?