PLAY airlines is the second largest airline in Iceland and its main low-cost carrier. They offer flights to destinations including the Canary Islands and a large amount places on the east coast of the US and Canada. I caught up with their CEO, Mr. Birgir Jonsson, to see how things were going in the wake of the pandemic…
How have you been reducing the environmental impact of your aircraft?
We’re committed to reducing our carbon emissions, which is why we follow regulations like the EU and UK Emissions Trading System and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. We’ve also complied with Norway’s and France’s national SAF mandates. We’re always looking for new ways to be more sustainable and reduce our impact on the environment.
What lessons have you learned from the pandemic?
The pandemic taught us how important ancillary revenue is for our airline, and we’ve worked hard to increase it to build a strong foundation for our company. We’re also dedicated to finding new ways to serve our passengers while prioritizing their safety and well-being.
A lot of your company was founded on the basis of the collapse of Wow air in 2019; what aspects of Wow air still remain at PLAY?
While our transatlantic route network remains, everything else is new and different. We have a new fleet of Airbus A320/321neo narrowbody aircraft, and we’re a publicly listed company with nearly 4,000 shareholders. Our mission is to achieve sustainable growth with flights between the east coast of North America and Europe, using Iceland as a hub.
What do you see to be the biggest challenge to the aviation industry at the moment?
The aviation industry is facing several challenges, including surging fuel prices and intense competition. At PLAY, we’re tackling these challenges by seeking innovative digital solutions that help us reduce costs and offer lower prices to our passengers.
Is the Russo-Ukrainian war affecting your business and if so how?
The war has led to higher fuel prices, which has affected the cost of operating our flights. However, we don’t operate routes that are directly impacted by the conflict.
You announced that February was a record month in sales for you. Do you think this is enough to put you close to Icelandair in the foreseeable future?
While we’re thrilled with our record-breaking sales in February, we recognize that Icelandair is an established company with decades of experience in the industry. Our strategy is working, but we know that it will take time and effort to achieve our goals.
And finally, what can we see in the near future for PLAY airlines?
We’re always looking for ways to improve our services and make travel more affordable for our passengers. We’re focused on increasing our ancillary revenue and expanding our route network to serve more destinations. Our goal is to help our passengers pay less and PLAY more!
Cover image credit: Conde Nast Traveller.