Icelandic carrier WOW air has expanded its fleet with the arrival of two additional Airbus A320s this summer as it looks to further expand its European network and even grow into the transatlantic market from June 2014. The budget carrier, which describes itself as “the airline with the biggest smile and lowest prices,” now operates four A320s and plans to acquire an additional two examples in 2014.
“We have doubled our fleet due to the expansion of our route network and to ensure that we continue to prove a ‘WOW’ service for all our passengers,” said Skúli Mogensen, Chief Executive Officer, WOW air. “As well as increasing our London to Reykjavik flights by 117 per cent, we will also be flying to an additional eleven European cities including Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan, Zurich and Warsaw. The two new aircraft will allow us to offer 520,000 seats and connect Reykjavik with some fantastic destinations.”
“We have doubled our fleet due to the expansion of our route network and to ensure that we continue to prove a ‘WOW’ service for all our passengers. As well as increasing our London to Reykjavik flights by 117 per cent, we will also be flying to an additional eleven European cities including Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan, Zurich and Warsaw. The two new aircraft will allow us to offer 520,000 seats and connect Reykjavik with some fantastic destinations.”Skúli Mogensen
Chief Executive Officer, WOW air
WOW air aims to put the wow factor back into flying and brings a spirit of fun to its everyday activities, with its bright purple colour theme, tongue-in-cheek attitude and humourous on-board announcements. It was established in November 2011 and launched operations in May 2012. It is now the only low-cost operator based in Iceland after it acquired control of its virtual airline rival Iceland Express last year.
Tourism to Iceland has grown phenomenally over the past few years as leisure travellers experience art and cultural festivities, adventure tours and music festivals which happen throughout the summer in Iceland. The summer also brings extended daylight hours, meaning more time to explore the spouting geysirs, black sand beaches, glaciers or simply enjoying a stroll through the capital. WOW air believes its in-flight service with a much more relaxed experience fits well to the country from across the UK.
At the recent Routes Europe forum in Budapest, Hungary, Helgi Bjornsson, Head of Revenue Management & Scheduling, WOW air spoke to The HUB about the airline’s development and how the amalgamation of the carrier with Iceland Express in October last year allowed it to develop its current network model.
“In October 2012, WOW air took over the route network that had been built up by Iceland Express and added to its own. We are now emphasising Denmark, UK, Germany and France over the winter time and then in the summer time we add frequency to, for example, Germany with Stuttgart, Dusseldorf; more destinations in Spain like Alicante, Barcelona and to Italy, as the main summer tourist season in Iceland is from June until August,” he explained.
According to Bjornsson, the airline’s network development plans will focus more on frequency than destination growth with a focus on serving a smaller network on a more reliable basis as it seeks to grow into the higher yielding business market. “We want to build up a product that is competitive and something that appeals to both leisure and business traffic,” he said.
However, additional points are still expected to be introduced to the route network in 2014 following the arrival of the two additional A320s. According to Bjornsson these will likely include new destinations in Germany, an enhanced schedule to Paris and could include growth into the United States, with a likely link to New York, a market previously served by Iceland Express and currently flown by national carrier Icelandair.
You can see the full interview with Helgi Bjornsson, Head of Revenue Management & Scheduling, WOW air, below, in which he also highlights the important roles flight reliability and customer service have played in establishing the carrier as a strong brand.