Icelandair will begin a seasonal non-stop service between Portland, Oregon and its Reykjavik hub at Keflavik International Airport beginning May 20, 2015 and continuing through October 21, 2015, its third gateway in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, and 14th overall in the United States and Canada.
Like much of Icelandair’s existing North American network the destinations will be served to support business and leisure demand in and out of Iceland as well as to provide new connectivity options for US travellers into the wider European market via the carrier’s Keflavik International Airport hub. The Icelandic international gateway is developing as a popular and cost-effective connection opportunity across the Atlantic with Icelandair offering the added option of a stop-over in Iceland at no additional airfare cost.
There is currently only limited connectivity between Portland and Europe, a market last year of 250,000 O&D passengers. Delta Air Lines is currently the only carrier providing regular transatlantic links from Portland to the SkyTeam hub at Amsterdam Schiphol, but German leisure carrier Condor last week announced it would resurrect a former Lufthansa link between Portland and Frankfurt in summer 2015.
Icelandair will offer a twice weekly service between Keflavik and Portland and through its continuing cooperation with partner Alaska Airlines will also offer onward links to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, as well as gateways in Hawaii and Alaska, amongst others. It says the Portland metro area's 2.3 million residents will gain access to one of the regions fastest elapsed flying times to popular European destinations including London, Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm and Munich by flying its service via Iceland.
The European carrier has a notable Transatlantic network and already offers links between Iceland and Boston, New York JFK, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Denver, Toronto and Edmonton, with seasonal services from Newark, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Orlando Sanford, Portland, Vancouver, Halifax, and Anchorage.
After growing its network to a record level in 2014 continued expansion next year will see further capacity growth in 2015. Alongside the new Portland service more frequencies will be offered on flights to Boston, Newark, Toronto and Washington further enhancing connection opportunities between North America and its network of more than 20 destinations across Europe.
"The past six years have been very positive for Icelandair and we aim to continue on the same path in 2015," said Birkir Holm Gudnason, chief executive officer, Icelandair. "With today's announcements we will continue to strengthen our position in the international market between North America and Europe, offering increased flight capacity, new gateways, and more aircraft than any year prior.
Icelandair has seen strong organic growth in the past few years and this year's international flight schedule is actually double the size of that flown by the carrier just five years earlier in 2009 with departures from Iceland growing from 4,500 in 2009 up to 9,000 this year. The airline handled 1.3 million passengers in 2009 and expects that to also double to 2.6 million in 2014.
In our analysis, below, we highlight Icelandair’s annual network capacity from Iceland by geographic location. The data clearly highlights the strong growth since 2009 and the record network figures in each of the last four years. This year capacity has grown 14.3 per cent versus 2013 and expansion in North America has seen that region grow its share of the carrier’s departure capacity from Keflavik International Airport to 34.1 per cent, up from 31.9 per cent in 2013 and 24.4 per cent in 2009 when its latest growth commenced.