New Icelandair destinations in Canada
Icelandair will continue to grow its Canadian route network in 2014 by starting flights to Vancouver and Edmonton, complementing already established routes to Toronto and Halifax. The company will also add its fifth weekly flight from Glasgow to Reykjavik and increase capacity to London Gatwick.
Flights to Edmonton, capital of Alberta, will start March 26 and continue until January 2015, four times a week. The Edmonton economy is strong with the 1.2 million inhabitants enjoying the rich natural resources of the area and creating a vibrant science and academic community. “We think we can offer very competitive service between Europe and Edmonton and are aiming for a full year service to the city“, says Birkir Hólm Guðnason, Icelandair CEO. Alberta is home of the Canadian Rockies, a popular destination by UK holiday makers and known for stunning scenery and great ski resorts. In addition, Edmonton has the largest shopping mall in North America.
The Vancouver twice weekly flights start May 13 and continue until October 12. Vancouver, western Canada‘s largest city with a population of 2.3 million, is often voted the most beautiful and best city to live in the world. “Our flight to Seattle, south of the border on the west coast of the US, has been a success for us and we hope the Vancouver route will give us added possibilities“, says Birkir.
Increase from Glasgow and Gatwick
In addition to the new Canadian destinations, Icelandair will increase its flight frequency from Glasgow to Reykjavik, for the second year in a row, by adding the 5th weekly service in 2014. The new flight will start Monday 14 April and further strengthen Glasgow’s connections to Reykjavik and North America.
Hjörvar Sæberg Högnason, Icelandair’s General Manager UK and Ireland, said: “It is a real pleasure to see Glasgow earn this extra frequency as the route has been going from strength to strength in recent years. This makes it easier for people to travel from Glasgow to Iceland, which recently was voted the world’s friendliest country by the World Economic Forum. The extra capacity also allows us to offer even more seamless connections to our growing number of destinations in N-America.”
“With the introduction of both Edmonton and Vancouver next year and having an already established operation to Toronto and Halifax we are hoping to reach out to both business and leisure travellers that are looking to travel to Canada. The upcoming events in Glasgow and Scotland next year come at a great time, giving us the potential to boost traffic numbers although we do not regard this as a one off benefit” adds Hjörvar.
Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, added: “Icelandair has been serving Scotland since the 1940s, providing important links to the United States and Canada via Reykjavik. The decision to enhance this historic route is a welcome one as not only does it demonstrate the airline’s commitment to the Scottish market, it further strengthens Glasgow’s extensive long haul network.
Glasgow is not the only UK airport Icelandair is increasing its operation from these days, London Gatwick is also seeing further growth. After successfully launching the service in October 2012, Gatwick is proving to be an important way of adding capacity from Greater London as it complements the twice daily service from Heathrow. This September will see the start of the 4th and 5th weekly flights from Gatwick to Iceland and into the Icelandair network.
Icelandair operation has doubled over a five year period
Icelandair has seen strong organic growth in the past few years and the 2014 schedule is double in size compared to the one in 2009. Passenger numbers in 2009 were 1.3 million or half of next year’s estimate.
„We plan to use continuing opportunities for growth next year“, says Birkir. „Our aim is to strengthen further our position on the North-Atlantic market where we have been growing. We are also aiming for continued growth for Icelandic tourism and this enlarged network gives Icelanders new and exciting possibilities for travel and for doing business“, Birkir says.
Icelandair is one of Iceland’s longest established companies with over 75 years of aviation. Icelandair flies from four UK gateways (London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow) to Iceland with connecting service to New York JFK, New York Newark, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Orlando, Seattle, Washington, DC, Anchorage, Halifax, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.