Category Archives: Play

PLAY flew more than 100,000 passengers in its first 6 months

During PLAY‘s first six months in operation, the airline flew 101,053 passengers on more than 1,000 flights. Considering the challenging environment with the pandemic and the performance of other start-up airlines in Europe and North America, we consider the 53.2% load factor for the year very satisfactory.

In 2021, over 48% of our passengers were traveling from Iceland. We are delighted with the reception that PLAY has received in Iceland as the numbers show that there was a significant need for a low-cost alternative in the market.

Our flights to the U.S., which we recently launched ticket sales for and will start operating in Spring 2022, will strengthen PLAY’s foundation even more as we open up the U.S. – Iceland market to low-cost travel and facilitate connections for passengers that want to take advantage of low-cost travel between the U.S. and Europe.

In 2022, PLAY will serve 24 destinations in Europe and North America.

17,749 Passengers in December

In December, PLAY carried 17,749 passengers and the load factor was 53.2%, compared to 58.3% in November. A surge in COVID-19 cases, lockdowns, and stricter travel restrictions in most destinations served by PLAY caused hesitation amongst passengers to book their travel, especially last-minute Christmas and shopping trips in December which we would have seen in a non-pandemic year. PLAY is well prepared to weather the uncertainty associated with the pandemic with a solid financial position, and a strong cash balance.

On a very positive note, we have seen that consumer confidence has begun to return. We see strong future bookings building a clear trend as could be expected in a typical non-pandemic year. Our passengers are again booking trips with short notice with the confidence offered by PLAY‘s flexibility policy as well as booking their holidays next summer. This is an indicator that people are ready to travel again despite the current rise in the number of infections in Iceland and abroad.

Great Reception after U.S. Launch

On December 16, PLAY launched ticket sales for flights to and from Boston and Washington, D.C. in the United States. Flights to Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) will begin on April 20, 2022, and flights to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) will begin on May 11, 2022. The launch was a significant milestone for PLAY and it opened a new chapter in PLAY’s expansion. The reception after the launch was very good and it received a lot of attention in all our markets. Immediately we saw a healthy flow of bookings coming from Europe, U.S., and Iceland, which is extremely positive considering that operations are months away, not starting until April/May.

“As we close a very eventful first year of operations, we are very encouraged and full of energy for the coming year. The business environment for all airlines has been challenging but we have been able to increase our market share and get PLAY into a very favorable market position to be able to enjoy the coming market growth, especially as we expand into the transatlantic market in the spring. We have been operating in a relatively small and defined market during our first six months and to be able to gain the trust of more than 100,000 people in a very challenging business environment should not be taken for granted and is a major achievement. We are very pleased to see that our strategy of offering the most competitive prices in the market and having a digital-first marketing and sales strategy is working brilliantly as we are seeing healthy bookings in our entry into the transatlantic market. We have already built a foundation of a truly great team of people within PLAY, a team that is very ambitious and professional with a very strong drive to succeed. 2021 was a year of many major milestones and victories for PLAY and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the PLAY team to meet new challenges and continue our success story in the coming year,” says Birgir Jónsson, CEO.

PLAY announces its first routes to the United States

PLAY has announced its first routes to the United States which will permit service to Europe via Keflavik:

PLAY, a low-cost airline operating flights between Iceland and Europe, announced today service in the United States, with the first flights to Europe taking off in spring 2022.

Starting today, travelers can book tickets from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) to 22 European destinations including London, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Brussels, Stavanger, Trondheim, Gothenburg, and more.

Flight service from Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) will begin on April 20, 2022, and service from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) will begin on May 11, 2022.

Transportation costs and associated fees represents 54% of spending on trips to international destinations for American passengers. PLAY offers a streamlined, no-frills service without costly features such as magazines, Wi-Fi, and entertainment, allowing travelers to pay less and “play more.” Rather than spending on travel extras, PLAY passengers can instead allocate their budget on the meaningful experiences, dining, and excursions that make a trip memorable — or even add a stop to another destination along the way.

To date, PLAY has flown more than 87,500 passengers across Europe with an on-time arrival rate over 96%.

PLAY signs a lease for two new Airbus A320neo aircraft

PLAY has signed an agreement with China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (CALC), a major international aircraft lessor for two new A320neo aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered to PLAY next week and will be fitted and painted as per PLAY’s specifications. The aircraft will arrive in Iceland in March 2022 in time for the change to a hub-and-spoke business model. The aircraft are new and will be delivered directly from Airbus.

These are the aircraft PLAY previously announced it had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for.

In September, PLAY signed an agreement with GECAS, a major international aircraft lessor for three A320neo and one A321NX narrowbody aircraft. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between autumn 2022 and spring 2023.

With these agreements, PLAY is taking advantage of favorable terms in the current market, securing brand-new aircraft and locking in long-term cost savings and operational efficiency.

PLAY to add more European destinations

PLAY (Keflavik, Iceland) made this announcement:

  • 96.2% on-time arrivals in September 2021
  • Load factor was 52.1%
  • Ticket sales increased again in September after being affected by COVID-19 pandemic this summer
  • The load factor is expected to rise for the full month of October, the fourth month in a row.


In September, PLAY carried 15,223 passengers. The load factor was 52.1%, compared to 46% in August. The improved load factor reflects recovering demand both to and from Iceland. During the month there was a decline in the number of passengers who   changed their bookings due to COVID-19. This reflects the decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in Iceland, growing consumer confidence and the relaxation of travel restrictions in Iceland and abroad. Inbound demand has also been rising as PLAY becomes a better known brand in markets outside of Iceland and COVID-19 travel restrictions are relaxed. This positive demand trend continues into October and the coming months look very promising, the load factor is expected to rise for the full month of October, the fourth month in a row.

New Cities To Be Added and Largest Hiring Yet

In September, PLAY announced a recruitment drive to fill 100 cabin crew and 50 flight crew positions to support the airline’s growth for 2022.  This will double the number of employees employed by the company.

Due to the positive demand trends outlined above, PLAY has added Amsterdam as a new destination to its winter schedule. The first flight to Amsterdam will be on December 3, with flights initially operating Mondays and Fridays and Thursdays and Sundays to be added from December 16.

The airline has also announced three new destinations in Scandinavia for next summer: Stavanger and Trondheim in Norway (May 2022) and Gothenburg in Sweden (May 20, 2022, twice-weekly).

PLAY adds Amsterdam to its winter schedule

PLAY (Keflavik) has added Amsterdam to its winter schedule.

Flights will operate twice a week, Mondays and Fridays.

The inaugural flight to Amsterdam will be on December 3, 2021.

This addition to the flight schedule is due to increasing demand for flights to/from Iceland in line with the improving status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PLAY to lease four Airbus neo aircraft from GECAS

GECAS has reached an agreement to provide three A320neo and one A321NX narrow body aircraft from its skyline to PLAY, the newly operating Icelandic low-cost airline.  The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between autumn 2022 and spring 2023

Based in Reykjavík’s Keflavík International Airport and commencing operations in June of this year, PLAY’s current fleet of three A321neo connects passengers to ten locations across Europe. As Iceland offers a unique geographic location for transatlantic travel, these new technology narrow bodies offer greater capability to make connections within North America as well.

PLAY applies for permit to fly to the USA


PLAY has applied for a permit and exemption authority with the US Department of Transportation to launch services to the United States in 2022.

The application was filed on August 20 and requests permission to operate scheduled and charter services from and via Iceland. PLAY looks forward to welcoming passengers traveling to and from the USA on board our A321 family fleet.

PLAY launches its first flight


Play Airlines (PLAY) today (June 24) launched its first route from Keflavik to London (Stansted).

The route is operated four days a week.

Photos: by the airline and Stansted Airport.

Route Map:

Birgir Jónsson, CEO

Birgir has extensive experience in international management and operations. He was Ossur’s Regional Director in Asia, based in Hong Kong, CEO of Iceland Express and later Deputy CEO of WOW air. He lived and worked in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, where he was CEO of Infopress Group, one of the largest printing companies in Eastern Europe. He was CEO of Iceland Post and has also been involved in many projects in the field of restructuring and transformation across a diverse range of industries.

Birgir holds an MBA from the University of Westminster in London and a BA (Hons) from the University of the Arts London.