Half of Iceland’s visitors travel with WOW air or Icelandair

The Icelandic carriers transported 1.2 million visitors to Iceland last year. The number of American tourists in Iceland soared between years.

icelandair wow
Credit: Icelandair & WOW air

Overseas residents made around 2.2 million visits to Iceland in 2017, and according to statistics accumulated by Túristi, nearly 1.2 million of those visitors travelled with either Icelandair or WOW air to the country; the remaining 1.2 million travelled with one of the roughly 30 foreign airlines offering scheduled flights to Keflavík International Airport.

In 2017, 36% of WOW air’s passengers (more than 500.000 individuals) were non-Icelandic residents, while 64% were either layover passengers or Icelandic citizens. Icelandair carried around 730 thousand international passengers to the country in 2017, around 36% of the airline’s total passenger number.

The number of American tourists in Iceland increased considerably this summer, compared to the same time period of 2017, or around 27%. This is likely thanks to the expansion of the Icelandic airlines in the US market; both Icelandair and WOW air launched five new US-destinations to their routes this summer. Likewise, the number of European travellers visiting Iceland has dropped between years. In part due to the fact that Icelandair decreased number of flights to European destinations. Therefore, it can be concluded that any change in the Icelandic airlines’ scheduled routes will greatly influence the nationalities of visitors to Iceland.