Icelandic carrier WOW air is to launch a new year-round link between Reykjavik and Dublin from next summer. The three times weekly route will commence on June 2, 2015 and will be the first scheduled service between the two cities.
Low-cost carrier WOW air launched operations in May 2012 and currently operates 16 routes from its home base at Keflavik International Airport, the main air gateway into Iceland. It expanded its operations in October 2012 when it took over the flight operations of former budget operator Iceland Express and secured its Air Operator‘s Certificate (AOC) by the Icelandic Transport Authority one year later.
“We are very excited to add Dublin as a year-round destination. WOW air’s core mission is to lower airfares wherever we go. Given Ireland and Iceland’s close ties, I know that there will be a lot of people using this opportunity to visit each other,” said Skúli Mogensen, founder and chief executive officer, WOW air.
The airline has entered the market as Iceland has been growing in popularity as a leisure destination in recent years and has grown its own passenger count from 112,223 passengers in 2012 to 412,583 last year. It forecasts reaching over 700,000 passengers this year and passing the one million figure next year when it is expected to launch long-haul flights to the USA, one year later than initially planned.
WOW air expects to secure a strong demand from the Irish market with MIDT data suggesting around 3,000 passengers flew between Iceland and Ireland last year, while Dublin has a long track record as a popular charter destination for Icelandic visitors.
According to Dublin Airport Managing Director, Vincent Harrison, the route agreement comes after two years of regular contact between WOW air and senior executives from Dublin Airport. “Dublin has been on WOW air’s radar as a potential destination since shortly after the airline commenced operations and we look forward to working closely with WOW and other stakeholders to help grow this new service,” he said.
Iceland has enjoyed a tourist boom in recent years, due to increased air access, a devaluation of the local currency and a sustained international marketing campaign. Annual visitor numbers to Iceland increased by 20 per cent to a record 807,000 last year.
In our analysis, below, we look at annual non-stop international seat capacity to Keflavik International Airport. The data shows that over the past ten years inbound international capacity has grown 74.1 per cent to just over 1.9 million seats in 2013, an average annual growth of 8.2 per cent. Our analysis of MIDT data shows the UK, the US, Denmark, Germany and Norway were the top five inbound markets for passengers.