In March 2020 we learned that Icelandair and Air Iceland Connect will be integrated. There is now an update on this as passengers will benefit from it from next week.
Integration of Air Iceland Connect & Icelandair
For some background information, Icelandair and Air Iceland Connect are both owned by the Icelandair Group:
- Icelandair is the international airline operating 767, 757 and 737 MAX flights from Keflavik Airport
- Air Iceland Connect is the domestic and regional airline operating Bombardier Q200 and Q400 from Reykjavik Airport to domestic destinations and Greenland
As previously announced, Air Iceland Connect operations will be integrated into Icelandair operations:
- All supporting functions such as sales, marketing, operations, finance, human resources and IT will be integrated into Icelandair’s operations
- Air Iceland Connect maintains a separate Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and the crews continue to have separate contracts
- The role of Managing Director of Air Iceland Connect will be retired although the former Managing Director of Air Iceland Connect will become Managing Director of Iceland Travel, also a subsidiary of Icelandair Group
The latest update is that the integration will officially take place on March 16, 2021. From this date it will be possible to book a ticket through Icelandair that includes travel with Air Iceland Connect. This gives you access to domestic destinations within Iceland as well as to Greenland.
Icelandair’s new route map (including Air Iceland Connect destinations)
Air Iceland Connect will continue to operate from Reykjavik Airport. So you have to collect your own luggage and switch airports when you change trains, which is not particularly convenient.
What are the practical implications of this?
Presumably this integration is in some ways a money-saving measure – both airlines have the same parent company, and it is probably more efficient to have many of the operational and administrative functions performed centrally.
At the same time, I have long thought that the two airlines have great potential for closer cooperation from the point of view of passenger experience:
- Icelandair is a globally recognized brand, so it seems to me to make sense to use this branding for the regional airline like Icelandair Connect or something as well
- I understand that Reykjavik Airport’s logistics are most convenient for domestic flights (as it is closer to the city) while Keflavik Airport is the main international airport, although this has also limited connectivity
- Icelandair has a robust stopover program so you can imagine passengers having a better chance of booking itineraries that include travel with Icelandair and Air Iceland Connect
Icelandair promises more benefits for members and passengers of the frequent flyer program. I’m excited to see how well the airlines will be integrated in terms of pricing, stopover programs, etc. starting next week.
Pre-Coronavirus I really wanted to visit Greenland and travel one way via Iceland with Air Iceland Connect to connect to Icelandair. This is the most direct route from Greenland to the USA. However, there was no easy way to book this as a single ticket. Hopefully that will change shortly.
Air Iceland Connect Q400
Air Iceland Connect will be integrated with Icelandair and decisions are likely to be made more centrally as many of Air Iceland Connect’s functions will be taken over by Icelandair.
In addition, from 16 March 2021, travel routes with Air Iceland Connect can be booked directly through Icelandair. We hope this integration will be pretty seamless from a customer perspective – switching airports is annoying enough, so I hope the pricing and stopover guidelines are at least attractive.
What do you expect from the integration of Air Iceland Connect with Icelandair?