The number of scheduled flights to and from Keflavík International Airport in April has dropped by 32% between years. This trend is largely a direct result of WOW air’s bankruptcy in March; the low-cost carrier offered a total of 588 flights from Keflavík Airport to various international destinations in April 2018. However, the decline in scheduled flights to and from the airport can also be linked to the week-long SAS pilot strike which took place last month. What more, a large number of flights were cancelled at Keflavík on April 12th and 13th due to bad weather in Iceland.
Isavia’s passenger forecast, published at the start of this year, predicted that the number of international passengers in April would decrease by 13%. This prediction was made after WOW air was forced to streamline its operations in the light of financial problems, but before the company declared bankruptcy. Although this massive drop in scheduled flights from Keflavík might seem worrisome, it is unlikely to have a lasting effect on visitor numbers to Iceland. WOW air’s customers were largely Icelanders and transit passengers flying between Europe and North America.
Icelandair, Iceland’s legacy carrier, seems to have benefitted somewhat from WOW air’s departure. Nearly 70% of all scheduled flights to and from Keflavík airport in April were Icelandair flights, compared to 43% in April 2018. Icelandair’s passenger number has also increased by 19% between months and its load factor went up by 6.5% between years – from 77.2% in 2018 to 83,7 in 2019. The majority of Icelandair’s passengers were foreign nationalities. The second biggest carrier at Keflavik International Airport last month was Wizz Air (7,9% share) followed by easyJet (4,9%).