Air Iceland Connect Being Integrated Into Icelandair

Filed Under: Icelandair

Here’s an interesting update from aviation in Iceland, and I’m not sure what exactly to make of it…

Air Iceland Connect & Icelandair integration

Icelandair and Air Iceland Connect are both owned by Icelandair Group:

  • Icelandair is the international airline, operating flights with 757s, 767s, and 737 MAXs (though they’re grounded right now) 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

It has just been announced that Air Iceland Connect operations will be integrated into Icelandair:

  • 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

Icelandair 767-300

Cost cutting, or is there more to it?

It’s entirely possible that this is just a cost cutting 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

One of the reasons I was recently thinking about this very topic is that I was looking 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’s no easy way to book that as a single ticket.

Air Iceland Connect Q400

Bottom line

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.

I’ll be curious to see if this is simply a measure intended to cut overhead, or if we actually see some initiatives that can benefit customers, in terms of branding, ticket sales, etc.

It really seems like Icelandair Group could be better showcasing Air Iceland Connect as a way to see places in Iceland beyond Reykjavik.

What are you expecting from Air Iceland Connect being integrated into Icelandair?

  1. would be great if this results in being able to use Mileage Plan to get to Greenland! I imagine competition for those seats would be extreme.

  2. It would be great if they can combine the domestic and International airport to one single location.

  3. A few years ago I was looking at flights to Greenland from Central Europe. With a bit of fiddling I could have gotten it for around $600 Return. These days it’s often twice as much. Let’s hope this merger gets their prices down to earth again. 400 bucks for a short hop on a turbo prop just doesn’t seem right.

    Allowing us to redeem MileagE Palm miles would be pretty cool (pun intended).

  4. We are among the hundreds if not thousands of very dissatisfied Icelandair customers (just have a look at their Facebook page). After we canceled our flight to Europe the night President Trump announced the termination of landing rights for passengers from Europe, we learned that all Fl was allowing customers was one rebooking to the same destination to be completed by August 31 and the payment of any difference in fare. All the while they’re touting that they’re waiving change fees.

    In our case, that would have more than doubled the cost of our Saga Class fare, with no guarantee even today that the world will be back to normal again by August. We would gladly have accepted a 12-month fare credit as a decent gesture, and might have thrown some more business their way, but instead we’ll probably end up with about 10% of our fare (“some of the taxes”) as a refund and sour feelings.

    Having made a short story long, we probably won’t be flying Fl again.

  5. Regarding the reason, my guess is that Connect had been receiving government subsidies that were based upon being separate. Maybe there are no more subsidies, and maybe they don’t have to be separate now to get them, and maybe I’m wrong.

    All Connect flights except for Greenland are domestic, which is why they fly from the City airport. No one in Reykjavik wants to drive all the way out to KEF just to catch a domestic flight.

    I had a wonderful experience on the Greenland tour from KEF. That being said, if you are coming from North America, it may make more sense to fly through Copenhagen, or through Canada, if those flights still exist. Greenland is very special, in all sorts of ways, and worth the trip.

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