Middle Eastern carrier Emirates is reportedly considering flights to Iceland. The carrier is reported in Icelandic press as having sent a delegation to Keflavik Airport, in order to scope out facilities and evaluate the potential for a direct Dubai to Iceland flight.
According to Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið, Emirates are seriously weighing up launching service from Dubai to Iceland. In a bid to test the water, the paper says Emirate sent a number of representatives to Keflavik to check out the infrastructure and weigh up the possibilities of services here.
Emirates are no stranger to that part of the world, already operating flights to Copenhagen, Norway and Sweden.
Iceland is in an interesting position, having recently lost its low-cost carrier. Before WOW Air ceased operating, Iceland was an affordable and interesting way to travel between the US and Europe. With a WOW Air flight, passengers could board in the US or Canada, spend a few days exploring Iceland on route, and then continue to their destination in Europe all on one affordable ticket.
Icelandair still offers a similar service, but is more costly than WOW and is known for its aging fleet of Boeing 757s and dated cabin product. Thus, any travelers using Iceland as a stopover destination will likely be connecting from the US on carriers that can only bring them halfway. As such, Emirates are in a strong position to pick up Middle East connections from people connecting from the US.
As well as passengers moving in that direction, those coming into Europe from Asia will appreciate a connection with a reputable, full-service airline to visit the tourist hotspot that is Iceland. As demand in the East continues to rise, many travelers from Asia will be looking to explore Iceland, which is currently only possible via a connection in the US.
An Emirates service from Dubai would allow those from anywhere west of the Middle East to make a one-stop itinerary to Iceland. According to AeroNews, BA, Lufthansa and Finnair have all reported good revenue from passengers traveling between Asia and Iceland, with numbers consistently on the rise, so it seems there is a market.
Added to this, the carrier would be likely to pick up a few Icelanders traveling east for their holidays, to Asia or even onwards to Australia and New Zealand.
If Emirates did launch a Dubai-Iceland service, they would be the only airline operating this route, therefore, would have no direct competition. There opening would likely drive down the currently high prices between the island and the Asian region.
Will it ever happen?
It’s important in these situations to take things one step at a time. Emirates people visiting an airport does not a new route make. There’s likely to be a great deal of discussion to be had before any decision is made.
If it does happen, it’s highly unlikely to be one of Emirates’ trademark A380s that makes the journey. The relatively small airport at Keflavik is not particularly set up to handle the jumbo plane, although it has made a few appearances there from time to time, usually in situations of emergency landings or for crosswind testing.
However, sticking an A380 on what looks to be a relatively thin route would not make sense at all. Even the 777 would likely be overkill. Right now, Emirates are probably scoping out destinations with a view to putting their forthcoming A330-900neos on the route, which are due to start delivering in 2021.
Seating 280-290 passengers across three classes, this is a much more manageable number of Pax. Not only that but with the added efficiencies of the neo, Emirates could hope to make the route profitable even if their load factor was not massively high.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see, but in our opinion, seeing Emirates in Iceland would be a very interesting prospect indeed!
Simple Flying reached out to Emirates for comment and will update as and when we hear back.