Icelandair Adds New US Gateway

Detroit will become the 13th US city to receive flights during the northern summer 2023 season.

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Icelandair is opening a new seasonal service between Reykjavik and Detroit from next May, restoring a nonstop connection between the cities after an absence of four years.

The airline plans to offer four flights per week between Reykjavik Keflavik (KEF) and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, starting on May 18, 2023. Flights will operate through Oct. 30 using a 160-seat Boeing 737-8 aircraft.

“These new flights will not only help meet the demands of a growing Detroit but also offer more options for Midwestern business and leisure travelers connecting from the Midwest region,” Icelandair president and CEO Bogi Nils Bogason said.

The flight time on the 4,480-km (2,419-nm) route between Reykjavik and Detroit is about six hours 25 minutes on the westbound leg and six hours going eastbound. Icelandair said passengers traveling from Detroit would be able to connect to more than 25 points in Europe via its KEF hub.

The airline’s entry to the market will re-establish a nonstop link between the destinations for the first time since March 2019. The route was previously served four times per week by Icelandic LCC WOW air from April 2018 until its demise 11 months later.

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According to data provided by Sabre Market Intelligence, O&D traffic between Detroit and Iceland dropped to 25,923 two-way passengers in 2019 following WOW’s exit from the market, compared with 45,372 in 2018.

Looking at the flow of traffic on WOW’s services from DTW to KEF between April 2018 and March 2019, 90% was point-to-point, while 9.8% of passengers flew to destinations beyond Iceland’s capital.

Chad Newton, CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority, said: “We believe nonstop flights to Iceland and the opportunity to connect to exciting cities throughout Europe are two more reasons travelers will choose DTW.”

The latest schedules filed with OAG Schedules Analyser reveal that Icelandair plans to serve 13 US destinations from Reykjavik during the summer 2023 season and offer 1.18 million two-way seats. This compares with 15 destinations and 1.15 million seats during summer 2019 before the pandemic.