Niceair, A New Northern Icelandic Airline

Niceair, A New Northern Icelandic Airline

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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:

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.

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (13)
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  1. Olivier Staiger Guest

    I'm an aurorahunter, eclipse chaser and stormchaser I smiled when you wrote "hoping" to see the northern lights. I've been hunting them on 12 trips in Iceland since 2015 and always saw them , on most nights, often on ALL nights. Going back next month.
    Flying to Aku must be great. Been there often by car. Beautiful town. Great whalewatching. North is less cloudy than south on average. Business plan proposition: Please fly from...

    I'm an aurorahunter, eclipse chaser and stormchaser I smiled when you wrote "hoping" to see the northern lights. I've been hunting them on 12 trips in Iceland since 2015 and always saw them , on most nights, often on ALL nights. Going back next month.
    Flying to Aku must be great. Been there often by car. Beautiful town. Great whalewatching. North is less cloudy than south on average. Business plan proposition: Please fly from Geneva. A few years ago Easyjet had direct flights both from Basel and Geneva. Now no more. Only direct flights are Icelandair from Zurich. I think Geneva would be good. We're both Schengen. And 2026 august 11 your flight will totally sell out, guaranteed. There's a total solar eclipse in Iceland the following day. Call me if you need details , pictures, info. ;-)

  2. Emily Guest

    I love the highlands and northern Iceland much more than the tourist-congested south. However, I don't think Iceland needs Akyureri as a base since the country is so small.

  3. Robert Guest

    Now it'll be easier to attend the next Fire Saga concert!

    Seriously though, Northern Iceland is a must visit, especially in whale season.

  4. Ray Dowding Guest

    Akureyri as well as being situated at the end of a fiord that has numerous whales the airport has a significant air museum. The first site of the museum reveals the nose of a DC6 sticking through the hanger wall. The museum is well worth a visit with an F27, dragon rapide, Auster, sea planes, gliders, engines and much more. Outside there are a number of aircraft that have seen better days. Well worth a visit.

  5. IRA WILLIAM POLINSKY.! Guest

    will niceair depart from bwi airport directly non-stop to aey airport?

  6. Kanaka Member

    Great. I really like Northern Iceland and enjoyed working in the Westfjords and free time around Akureyri and beyond. Plenty to see and do in the north, including Godafoss, Lake Myvatn (and Lake Myvatn Nature Baths), Dettifoss, GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths.

  7. 21five Guest

    Icelandair was founded in Akureyri, back in 1937, as Flugfélag Akureyrar.

    The connections via Reykjavik aren’t great, especially for morning flights. Often you have to stay overnight (worst case in both directions!) as well as change airports. Driving down instead takes 5-6h, so either way you’re losing at least a day.

    If they have good international connections through Europe, it would be a much better way to fly on further east.

    I suspect “Spain” really...

    Icelandair was founded in Akureyri, back in 1937, as Flugfélag Akureyrar.

    The connections via Reykjavik aren’t great, especially for morning flights. Often you have to stay overnight (worst case in both directions!) as well as change airports. Driving down instead takes 5-6h, so either way you’re losing at least a day.

    If they have good international connections through Europe, it would be a much better way to fly on further east.

    I suspect “Spain” really means Tenerife; there are a few charter package holiday flights that run out of AEY. That would certainly generate traffic through winter (although I can’t imagine more than one flight a week).

  8. Phil Guest

    Before reading the headline, I thought this was an airline from the south of France.

  9. farnorthtrader Guest

    I think it has potential, getting Icelanders out on vacation in the winter and tourists in during the rest of the year. The market is limited, but as long as they don't get too ambitious, they might make a go of it.

  10. tipsyinmadras Guest

    If you're ever in Akureyri check out the Icelandic Aviation Museum at the airport, it's awesome

  11. James K. Guest

    I visited Husavik and Akureyri last year. I flew Eagle Air from Reykjavik after a week there. Fun checking out the north AND Eagle Air flies Jetstreams and Dorniers so I got 2 new planes!

  12. shoeguy Guest

    Ludicrous at best. How many airlines does Iceland need and how many investors need to be duped before it all melts down?

  13. Sean M. Diamond

    Iceland Express used to operate seasonally from Akureyri and Egilsstaddir to multiple points in Europe (LGW and CPH for sure, and possibly others) and did reasonably well on the routes. This was in the late 2000s though - I don't think anyone else has tried scheduled flights since then.

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Kanaka Member

Great. I really like Northern Iceland and enjoyed working in the Westfjords and free time around Akureyri and beyond. Plenty to see and do in the north, including Godafoss, Lake Myvatn (and Lake Myvatn Nature Baths), Dettifoss, GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths.

1
James K. Guest

I visited Husavik and Akureyri last year. I flew Eagle Air from Reykjavik after a week there. Fun checking out the north AND Eagle Air flies Jetstreams and Dorniers so I got 2 new planes!

1
Sean M. Diamond

Iceland Express used to operate seasonally from Akureyri and Egilsstaddir to multiple points in Europe (LGW and CPH for sure, and possibly others) and did reasonably well on the routes. This was in the late 2000s though - I don't think anyone else has tried scheduled flights since then.

1
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