There’s a new airline being developed in Iceland. Unlike all the others, the business model isn’t to connect North America and Europe via Keflavik…
Niceair will fly from Northern Iceland
Some entrepreneurs are planning on launching a new airline based at Akureyri Airport (AEY) in Northern Iceland, named Niceair. Here are the basic details we know about what’s being planned:
- The airline plans to launch flights in June 2022
- The airline has secured an Airbus A319 with 150 seats (presumably in an all-economy configuration)
- It sounds like the airline will initially lease a plane, as the operating license will belong to an unnamed European airline
- The airline plans to initially operate year-round flights to the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Spain
- Ticket sales should begin in the coming weeks
- There are a variety of companies in Northern Iceland that have invested in the airline, though no party owns more than an 8% share
Let me emphasize that the above is what’s being claimed, and it’s anyone’s guess if that’s true or not. Here’s how Þorvaldur Lúðvík Sigurjónsson, the CEO of Niceair, describes the concept for the airline:
“The company’s intention is to establish scheduled flights throughout the year to foreign destinations from Akureyri Airport. This will at the same time improve the living conditions of individuals in the area, improve the access of foreign tourists to the North and, last but not least, increase the competitiveness of companies in the area.”
This is a cool, unique concept
Suffice it to say that airlines in Iceland have a mixed track record. Icelandair does reasonably well, but other than that it has been a struggle:
- You had WOW Air, an ultra low cost carrier that liquidated before the pandemic
- Now you have PLAY, which is essentially trying to replicate what WOW Air did, but a bit more conservatively, and with a better cost structure
- Let’s not even talk about the bizarre West Virginia entrepreneur who bought rights to WOW Air, and planned to make it a cargo airline, or a Washington DC cafe, or an Italian airline, or something
Now, I have to admit I’m far from an expert on aviation in Northern Iceland, though I know I’ve been wanting to visit the area, and getting there could be much easier. A few thoughts:
- Currently Icelandair operates four(ish) turboprop flights per day between Reykjavik and Akureyri; this isn’t ideal for connecting travelers, since they’d have to change airports in Iceland’s biggest city
- I’ve long been interested in visiting Northern Iceland, but is there enough demand currently for travel direct from other countries to Akureyri, or is this new airline about stimulating demand that didn’t previously exist?
- While I get that there are winter activities (like skiing) and spring and fall activities (like hoping to see the Northern Lights), Iceland is still a seasonal market, and without connecting traffic, it seems challenging to profitably fill planes year-round
It would be really cool to see this airline launch, as it brings something new to the table. That being said, it’s anyone’s guess whether the airline actually launches in June 2022, and where this airline falls on the scale of Breeze Airways to Global Ghana Airways.
A new airline named Niceair is planned for Northern Iceland. The airline hopes to launch in June 2022 with a leased Airbus A319, operating flights direct from Akureyri to international destinations in Europe. It’s anyone’s guess if this airline becomes a reality, though personally I’m at least excited to see an Icelandic airline with a unique business model.
What do you make of the Niceair concept, and have any OMAAT readers been to Northern Iceland?