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Icelandair Makes History with Its Biggest Winter Schedule to Date

The Icelandic carrier released its winter schedule six months ahead of last year's date, signaling higher demand for its transatlantic network

by Matteo Legnani

March 24, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Enrique Perrella

Icelandair has revealed the most extensive winter schedule in its 85-year-long history, with flights to 36 destinations in Europe and North America and a capacity increase of almost 25% system-wide.

The Keflavik-based carrier released its schedule for this year’s winter season far earlier than last year, responding to a notable surge in travel demand between North America and Europe through the airline’s hub in the mid-Atlantic.

The most notable aspect is the promotion of several destinations from seasonal to year-round. For many years, Icelandair has been a bi-dimensional airline whose network and capacity boomed during the summer, when tourists flock to visit the island’s beauties and transatlantic demand is at its peak.

However, as the global travel demand continues to grow, the airline has upgraded its routes to Rome (FCO), Barcelona (BCN), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), Baltimore (BWI), and Vancouver (YVR) from seasonal to year-round.

Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy / Photo: Vlas Telino studio/Shutterstock

Rome and Barcelona are set to be flown on three flights per week, while Raleigh-Durham and Vancouver will have four weekly flights. Baltimore, however, will upgrade to daily.

Moreover, several destinations that enjoyed year-round flights already received upgrades in terms of weekly frequencies. In particular, New York (JFK) and Boston (BOS) will get a daytime service to Keflavik for the first time.

“As a result of strong customer demand, we are now introducing our most extensive winter schedule to date,” said Tomas Ingason, Icelandair’s Chief Revenue Officer. “We have been able to extend previously seasonal routes to year-round services and increase frequencies on other routes throughout the network for the winter 23/24 season.”

The Icelandic flag carrier closed last year with promising figures. The group’s income grew from $0.58 million to $1.265 million (+116% compared to 2021), while the total number of passengers carried climbed 150% to 3.7 million. The load factor, too, saw an increase of 14% from 65.3% to 79.7%.

Photo: Courtesy of Enrique Perrella

In 2022, four new destinations were added to the airline’s network: Raleigh-Durham and Detroit (summer only), Las Palmas (winter only), and Tel Aviv (summer only).

Finally, the airline’s fleeting plans saw the addition of two more Boeing 737 MAX 8 to the airline’s order book, while three 767-300ER, two 757-300, 17 757-200, four 737 MAX 9, 13 737 MAX 8s, and five De Havilland Dash-8s remained operational.