PLAY: Iceland’s Questionable New Low Cost Carrier

PLAY: Iceland’s Questionable New Low Cost Carrier

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Today details have been revealed about Iceland’s newest airline, PLAY!

Icelandic Aviation Post-WOW Air

WOW Air ceased operations this March, and since then we’ve seen two different groups try to create a new airline.

The first airline in the process of being created will have the same name — WOW Air — as investors purchased the assets of the old company. This airline will differentiate itself by offering a lounge for everyone, Michelin star food for purchase, and biometric boarding.

Wait, actually no it won’t… it’s now going to become a cargo airline for the time being. There’s something fishy about this entire operation, and I’ve written about it quite a bit, given how bizarre the concept is.

Then there’s a second group trying to create a new airline. This group is made up of some former WOW Air executives, though they didn’t purchase the WOW Air assets. Rather they plan to launch an airline with a similar business model to WOW Air, but with a different name.

Details Of PLAY, Iceland’s New Airline

Today the executives of the second airline held a press conference in Iceland, during which they discussed their plans for the new airline. Their new website, flyplay.com, is up as well.

So, what do we know about the airline so far?

  • PLAY will operate Airbus A321 aircraft, which they say are perfect for carrying passengers and cargo
  • The airline will initially have two planes, but plans to grow their fleet to six planes by summer 2020, and will increase that to 10 aircraft within three years
  • They are in the final stages of obtaining an air operator certificate for the airline
  • The airline will begin with flights to Europe, but next spring plans to launch flights to North America
  • PLAY’s website is up and running, and ticket sales are expected to begin in November, with the airline planning on giving away 1,000 tickets to celebrate
  • Arnar Már Magnusson is CEO of the new company, and he was VP of Operations at WOW Air
  • The company has allegedly received about a $40 million investment

My Take On Iceland’s PLAY

There are surprisingly few details about the airline so far. We have a sense of when they’ll launch operations and their general route network, but I don’t really get what will make this different than failed WOW Air?

It sounds to me like they’re basically trying to replicate WOW Air’s business model, with the only difference being that they don’t plan to grow too much too fast.

Many say that WOW Air’s fatal mistake was the pace at which they tried to grow, and their ultimate decision to acquire A330s, which just don’t fit into the business model.

Based on everything we know, it sure sounds like PLAY will basically replicate WOW’s business model in the early stages.

It’s also interesting to see both WOW Air and PLAY launching around the same time. I still question if either or both of these companies will actually launch, but both parties do seem serious… at least in their own minds.

What do you make of PLAY?

Conversations (21)
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  1. Name Guest

    This company does have the respect of being called an airline?
    What we see it's an opportunity to try to banalize everything. So what we do? - Low salaries, - a uniform that looks like what I buy in a carnival shop, from head to feet, and - a name that makes you think how serious they take the company. I will not buy a ticket for this 'Groundline'. 'Airlines' deserve respect and that...

    This company does have the respect of being called an airline?
    What we see it's an opportunity to try to banalize everything. So what we do? - Low salaries, - a uniform that looks like what I buy in a carnival shop, from head to feet, and - a name that makes you think how serious they take the company. I will not buy a ticket for this 'Groundline'. 'Airlines' deserve respect and that groundlines doesn't deserve to take an airway in the sky. They aren't for the aviation team, but for the opportunist team. They are going to PLAY with their dicks, and don't play with people.

  2. import the vikings Guest

    Play? Seems more like they pressed Repeat. Maybe someone can hit the Pause button, or Stop, before it all gets even more out of hand...

    @Stephen barrow: he never said that he's an expert in fucking. He knows a lot about the aviation industry though and makes his money in it.

  3. Stephen barrow Guest

    And what makes you such a fucking expert? This blog and its author are a joke. By flying many miles he's an airline expert? Well I drink lots of beer in the bar, so that must make me a master brewer?

    Blogs and posts like this are damaging to airlines, peoples livelihoods are affected by what people read and believe with sites like this. There is very little factual content in this article, yet opinion is given as fact. Can see why you are not a real journalist

  4. Chris Guest

    The word of mouth is the owners will PLAY but not PAY..

  5. Tom R Guest

    Where are they getting the planes? As far as I was aware there's a huge backlog of 321 orders. Maybe they are leasing? Part of Primera's failure was selling tickets and launching service on its new 321neos which it only ever received one or two and had to wet lease ancient 757s which kept going out of service, result lots of cancels, delayed flights and compensation.

  6. Mark Guest

    Strictly speaking, they can't offer Michelin star food for purchase, as the star is awarded to the restaurant, not the chef. Iceland's only starred restaurant lost its star in the last round of awards too, so it's not like they were getting into the food prep business,,,

  7. Roman R Guest

    If they offer connecting passengers free access and transport to/from Blue Lagoon, I am down!

  8. Oscar Guest

    What's the over / under on bankruptcy for both of these carriers? 5 years? Budget carrier model isn't sustainable on transatlantic routes.

  9. Andy 11235 Guest

    Just a thought to add... part of Wow's failure was not just speed of expansion, but how they expanded. Connecting traffic requires banking all the flights, but this led to horrible aircraft utilization with a number of the cities they tried to expand to.

    This "Play" could work, just as long as they don't make the idiotic decisions that doomed their last model. I'm sure it all comes down to having a Michelin-starred chef doing the meals ;)

  10. Trey Guest

    I want in on this with another short interesting word! Maybe it'll be flights to Europe via Greenland!

    I could call it Funk Air! Or Chill Air! I am so down! Let's make Greenland the next Iceland!

    Seriously, I think it'll make a killing!

  11. Clair Guest

    In response to a couple of a comments. The start of winter is a very popular time to visit Iceland, because of the one thing you can get there during this time. The lights!

    Iceland remains to be popular because it is an amazing place, lights or not. It captures people. Icelandair is an amazing airline but the prices fluctuate a lot and it's difficult to get something that is cheap. When you then...

    In response to a couple of a comments. The start of winter is a very popular time to visit Iceland, because of the one thing you can get there during this time. The lights!

    Iceland remains to be popular because it is an amazing place, lights or not. It captures people. Icelandair is an amazing airline but the prices fluctuate a lot and it's difficult to get something that is cheap. When you then account for accommodation and food, the thought of a cheap flight does make the whole thing easier. Personally, I would never fly with anyone else. Icelandair does it all better.

  12. Stanley Guest

    Enough with Iceland and all these ridiculous airline names!!! Wow, Play,...

  13. Aaron Guest

    "Many say that WOW Air’s fatal mistake was the pace at which they tried to grow, and their ultimate decision to acquire A330s, which just don’t fit into the business model.

    Based on everything we know, it sure sounds like PLAY will basically replicate WOW’s business model in the early stages."

    So basically, they are insane...

  14. No Name Guest

    So starting an airline during the beginning of the winter season? I get that ramp up take time, but surely waiting until a bit closer to summer would be wise.

  15. Mitch Cumstein Guest

    Looks like they're making a play for the Reykjavík market. Unfortunately the airline business is all work and no play.

  16. LNYC Guest

    Wondering when the obsession with Iceland will eventually end. The country can barely sustain 1 carrier.

  17. Alex Guest

    This honestly looks like a parody of WOW - also a random word, fully neon-painted/solid color livery, etc. I do like Michael’s idea of buying tickets to then get whatever compensation issued when they eventually fail...

  18. Michael Guest

    Matt Levine has semi jokingly said that when venture capitalists subsidize our purchases (food delivery, taxi rides, air travel to Iceland) we're seeing the American version of socialism.

    This is great news and there are two angles -- (1) book unsustainably cheap travel and enjoy it, (2) book unsustainably cheap travel really far into the future and hope you beat their burn rate, then use travel insurance or rescue fares to earn sweet miles...

    Matt Levine has semi jokingly said that when venture capitalists subsidize our purchases (food delivery, taxi rides, air travel to Iceland) we're seeing the American version of socialism.

    This is great news and there are two angles -- (1) book unsustainably cheap travel and enjoy it, (2) book unsustainably cheap travel really far into the future and hope you beat their burn rate, then use travel insurance or rescue fares to earn sweet miles for a fun trip on a legacy carrier.

  19. George Guest

    Play, Wow, Zipair, Level

    Are airlines into a competition to see which livery is the ugliest?

  20. Sad State of Our Country Guest

    What I can't understand is that are still suckers out there to invest millions on an over and over again proven unsustainable model.

    I guess it explains trump voters...

  21. Marty Guest

    If at first you don't succeed...?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Name Guest

This company does have the respect of being called an airline? What we see it's an opportunity to try to banalize everything. So what we do? - Low salaries, - a uniform that looks like what I buy in a carnival shop, from head to feet, and - a name that makes you think how serious they take the company. I will not buy a ticket for this 'Groundline'. 'Airlines' deserve respect and that groundlines doesn't deserve to take an airway in the sky. They aren't for the aviation team, but for the opportunist team. They are going to PLAY with their dicks, and don't play with people.

0
import the vikings Guest

Play? Seems more like they pressed Repeat. Maybe someone can hit the Pause button, or Stop, before it all gets even more out of hand... @Stephen barrow: he never said that he's an expert in fucking. He knows a lot about the aviation industry though and makes his money in it.

0
Stephen barrow Guest

And what makes you such a fucking expert? This blog and its author are a joke. By flying many miles he's an airline expert? Well I drink lots of beer in the bar, so that must make me a master brewer? Blogs and posts like this are damaging to airlines, peoples livelihoods are affected by what people read and believe with sites like this. There is very little factual content in this article, yet opinion is given as fact. Can see why you are not a real journalist

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