The Board of Directors of Icelandair Group has decided to update the fleet policies of the subsidiaries Icelandair and Air Iceland.
All five Fokker 50 aircraft that Air Iceland operates will be sold and three Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 will replace it. After that Air Iceland will operate five aircraft, three Bombardier Q400 and two Q200.
The Q400 aircraft can seat 74 passengers while the Fokker 50 takes 50 passengers.
The airline’s operations will be simplified and optimised as number of aircraft decrease and synergies will increase as all aircraft will be from the same manufacturer.
As the Q400 is faster and has a longer range, Air Iceland sees opportunities in new markets. The company will be better equipped to service the domestic market as the aircraft are larger and travel time will be shorter. The airline aims to increase the number of foreign tourists on board its aircraft going forward.
In 2015 Icelandair will operate 23 Boeing 757-200 that take 183 passengers and one 757-300 that takes 220 passengers. The company owns 22 of those aircraft and leases two that will be redelivered this autumn. It has been decided that they will be replaced with two Boeing 767-300 aircraft that take 260 passengers that will be added to the route network as of the spring of 2016. Larger aircraft are more feasible due to high load factors on many routes all year round and limited number of landing slots on certain airports. The increase of the fleet in the last few years has made it more economical to have more than one size of aircraft in the fleet. The Boeing 767 aircraft is similar to the 757 in terms of maintenance and crew training and the airline has experience in operating that type.
Icelandair Group’s subsidiary, Loftleidir-Icelandic, has operated 767 aircraft in leasing projects that have been maintained by Icelandair. The aircraft has longer range than the 757 which will create new opportunities for the route network.
It has not been decided whether the new aircraft will be purchased or leased.
Bjorgolfur Johannsson, President and CEO of Icelandair Group:
“Operating one type of aircraft has been very economical for Icelandair but when the route network and the fleet reaches a certain size it becomes more feasible to have a broader range of aircraft in the fleet. High load factors all year round and limited number of landing slots on certain airports also support this decision. In terms of Air Iceland a simpler and more economical fleet will make the operations better as crew training will be simpler.
We foresee further growth opportunities in the coming years with these changes to the fleet policy for passenger aircraft. Both the Boeing 767 and Q400 aircraft can service markets that the current fleet cannot, which will enable us to go into new markets and connect them to the current route network.”