WOW air adds more destinations but keeps on filling a greater share of seats

The Icelandic airline has seen a higher load factor every month from the start of the year, even though its fares are getting higher.

wow gma Friðrik Örn Hjaltested
Credit: Friðrik Örn Hjaltested/WOW air

Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW air continues to expand, having launched five new nonstop routes to the US this spring, and by adding flights to JFK in New York and London Stansted. This brought on a 59 percent increase in capacity (ASK) for the airline in May. Notably, the increase did not negatively impact the carrier’s load factor which, according to information released by the airline, was 90 percent in May. That is an improvement by 4 percent points compared to the same period of 2017. What more, WOW air has witnessed an increase in its seat-occupancy level every month from the start of 2018 (see graph).

WOW air began transatlantic flights three years ago and has grown very rapidly with its headline-grabbing low fares. However, the airline’s ticket prices have been rising. “Our ticket prices did increase during the first quarter of 2018,” said Svanhvít Friðriksdóttir, a spokesperson for WOW air, last month in answer to Túristi.

Meanwhile, the development of airfare has been different for low-cost carrier Norwegian, which entered the transatlantic market a few years ago. According to Norwegian’s traffic numbers for May, its average fare (yield) dropped by 6 per cent, while its traffic increased by 51 percent.