Icelandic Startup Play To Receive Its First Jet Within Weeks

Icelandic startup PLAY is set to receive its first aircraft in the coming weeks. An A321neo will arrive at the beginning of June, with two more coming by early July. The airline is slated to begin services on June 24th, but its first destination remains under wraps.

PLAY icelandic airline
PLAY could be taking its first A321neo by the end of this month. Photo: PLAY

PLAY’s first aircraft coming soon

The airline that nobody was sure would ever take off is moving closer to a launch of its flights. PLAY, the Icelandic startup that aims to fill the void left by WOW Air, is reportedly set to receive its first A321neo by the end of this month, and two more in the coming weeks.

Recently appointed CEO Birgir Jónsson confirmed this plan for deliveries. He said that the first aircraft will arrive in early June, with the second two joining the fleet in July. All will be A321neos.

The publication further notes that although the A321neos are designed to carry up to 220 passengers, PLAY intends to outfit them for just 200, to ensure passenger comfort. Pilots for the airline are reportedly already undergoing flight simulator training in the UK, readying for the arrival of the first jet.

PLAY intends to be a low-cost airline, and has already noted that early destinations will include London, Paris, Copenhagen, Alicante and Tenerife. Its first flight has been announced for June 24th, but the initial destination is being kept under wraps.

Biggi Jonsson
Jonsson says the airline will begin ticket sales later this month. Photo: PLAY

We shouldn’t need to wait long to find out where PLAY will fly, however, as the airline’s CEO has said that tickets should be on sale in the latter half of May.

Birgir Jónsson, or Biggi as he is usually called, told Simple Flying,

“We are truly excited to be receiving our first aircraft towards the beginning of June. Our pilots have already travelled and are undergoing refresher training. The airplane is an Airbus A321 NEO, almost new, very safe and economical and in this case also quite roomy with only 200 seats out of a capacity of 220. It will be going in for a sparkling red PLAY paintjob very soon.

“I think I can say for everyone at PLAY that it is going to stand out, in a positive way, and represent well the spirit of playfulness and joy we embody. Actually, it could pay to keep an eye on our booking engine at since we are going to be spreading the joy with one thousand free tickets hidden in the booking engine.”

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Could the first destination be London?

Checking out the slot coordinator’s reports for London Gatwick Airport, we can see that ‘Fly Play’ has had a total of 262 slots allocated at the airport for summer 2021. These slots begin showing on the schedule in late May, with just six per week allocated.

By the time the airline plans to launch, June 24th, this has ticked up to eight slots per week, enough for four rotations each week. By early July, when another A321neo should arrive, it goes up to 10, 12 by the end of that month, and by peak summer in August, PLAY has 14 slots per week in the schedule. That’s enough for a daily rotation from Keflavik to London.

PLAY icelandic airline
PLAY has secured slots at two London airports, as well as at Paris CDG. Photo: PLAY

Over at Stansted, the airline appears to have secured an identical number of slots, although here it is just referred to as ‘Play.’ 262 slots have been allocated, with capacity beginning at the end of May, with just six slots.

Capacity remains low throughout June, ticking up to 10 slots per week in July. By August, it’s up to 12, rising to 14 in the second week of that month. Again, this gives PLAY the ability to operate a daily rotation to this London airport also.

Slot reports further show that capacity has been allocated at Paris Charles de Gaulle, and at Dublin. It’s likely been successful at the Spanish airports and in Copenhagen too. For now, the jury is out on which route launches first, but we shouldn’t have to wait much longer to find out.