Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW air will attempt to replicate the success of its initial long-haul, low-cost links into the United States by introducing flights into Canada in summer next year. Alongside its existing services to Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International and Boston Logan airports, the airline will inaugurate operations to Montreal and Toronto from May 2016.
Although not formally advertised by the airline as yet, the proposed four times weekly flights between Keflavik International Airport, serving the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, and both Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal and Lester B Pearson International Airport in Toronto are displayed in its website booking engine. This displays four times weekly links on each route launching from May 12, 2016 for Montreal and May 20, 2016 for Toronto.
WOW air debuted its new long-haul operation this summer when it added flights to Boston on March 27, 2015 and to Washington DC on May 8, 2015. Both routes have, according to the carrier, exceeded expectations carrying over 72,000 passengers from the United States to Iceland this year with many connecting on to destinations across Europe.
The airline also reports the number of passengers flying from Boston to Iceland has increased by 130 per cent, while the number of passengers flying from Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area to Iceland has increased by 105 per cent. Notably, it claims that since its arrival in these markets average airfares have declined 30 per cent between Boston and Iceland and around 16 per cent from Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area.
WOW air competes with Icelandair on both its US routes from Keflavik International Airport with direct competition into Boston Logan International Airport and indirect competition on the route to Baltimore/Washington. Icelandair previously served BWI airport up until January 2008 but introduced flights to Dulles International Airport when it resumed Washington services in May 2011.
Like the US routes, the two new Canadian destinations will be served using Airbus A321 equipment seating around 200 passengers. The aircraft feature Sharklet wing-tip devices that improve aerodynamics and reduce fuel consumption to just 2.2 litres per person per 100km, dramatically reducing overall emissions. Based on average usage, each plane will produce up to 12,000 tonnes less CO2 per annum than a Boeing 757, the type currently utilised by WOW air’s local rival, Icelandair.
"Today’s travellers are smart. They choose to spend less money on airfare and more money at their destinations. We are thrilled to be able to lower fares so dramatically on the routes that we fly from the U.S. to Europe”, said Skúli Mogensen, founder and chief executive officer, WOW air.
“We want to keep our promise and keep offering low fares. We are the first transatlantic ultra-low cost airline and look forward to more than double our capacity to North America next year," he added this week, hinting at the growth into Canada.
The proposed Canadian routes will once again put WOW air in direct competition with Icelandair which has served Toronto since summer 2008 and introduces its own flights to Montreal in May 2016. The national carrier also offers links between Keflavik and Edmonton and seasonal links to Halifax and Vancouver.