Today, 9th March 2016, Icelandair started a new year-round service from Aberdeen International Airport (ABZ) to Reykjavik (KEF). The new gateway will become Icelandair’s second in Scotland and sixth in the UK. Flights will operate four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The flight to Reykjavik (KEF) will provide easy connections to Icelandair’s 16 gateways in North America and reduce current travel times by up to several hours. Icelandair destinations in North America include New York, Orlando, Seattle, Toronto and recently announced Chicago starting on 16th March and Montreal on 19th May.
Andres Jónsson, General Manager UK & Ireland for Icelandair and Arni Gunnarsson MD of Air Iceland arrived into Aberdeen this morning on the inaugural flight to be greeted by Carol Benzie, MD of Aberdeen International Airport amongst other dignitaries. Andres said:
“It was a pleasure to be able to announce Aberdeen in the same year we celebrated 70 years of flying to Scotland. We see great opportunities in connecting this market to our route network of North American destinations. Travel times will be shortened and we’re confident customers will appreciate the easy connections through our hub in Iceland”.
Carol Benzie, MD at Aberdeen International Airport said: “We are very excited about the arrival of Icelandair at Aberdeen and we’re confident that the new service is going to be incredibly popular, both amongst our leisure and our business travellers. Aberdeen is also an enticing destination for the North American market, and this new route opens up new links to cities such as New York, Toronto and Chicago.
“We are looking forward to developing a fruitful partnership with Icelandair and to ensuring the airline’s success and growth at Aberdeen over the years ahead.”
Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay said:
“It is fantastic to see this important new service get underway today and I congratulate everyone involved in getting it off the ground.
“As well as being the gateway to Iceland, Keflavik is also an important hub airport offering onward travel to a wide selection of destinations, including the United States of America and Canada. The business community in Aberdeen and the North East is sure to benefit from improved access to international markets and this new link will no doubt prove popular with tourists too.
“Following devolution of powers over Air Passenger Duty (APD) to the Scottish Parliament, we will look to attract more direct services to Scotland’s airports by beginning to reduce the burden of APD by 50% from April 2018, and abolishing it entirely when public finances allow.
“I wish Aberdeen Airport and Icelandair every success with this new route.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “This new route is fantastic news for tourism in Aberdeen and adds to the burgeoning number of direct international flights to Scotland, which is key to growing the visitor economy.
“Our North American friends continue to be our biggest international inbound visitor market with more than half of visitors attracted to Scotland by its awe-inspiring scenery, such as the beautiful Royal Deeside, while the proposed new AECC will further enhance business tourism opportunities.
“With the launch our global Spirit of Scotland campaign, we hope this year-round service will encourage even more visitors from the United States and Canada to make the journey to our shores to discover their new spiritual home.”
Chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Russell Borthwick said:
“Businesses in Aberdeen will welcome the exciting news that the city has a new carrier and this investment by Icelandair shows confidence in the region.
“Our connections to global markets are vital to the continuing prosperity of the North-east with many businesses looking to grow through their international activities. These new routes to North America will help them access new markets in which to do business.
“We also welcome the expected boost to our tourism industry from Icelandic visitors.”
“Aberdeen International Airport has worked hard to secure this partnership with Icelandair, and we wish both of them every success with the route.”
The new Aberdeen-Reykjavik service is operated on behalf of Icelandair by Air Iceland, a subsidiary of Icelandair Group. The aircraft used is a Bombardier Q400 that seats 72 passengers and offers passengers two cabins of travel to choose from, Economy and Economy Comfort.