**Update: 03/11/21 @ 07:51 UTC – Added details on operating licences and travel credits**
Today, Icelandair Group said it had decided to let go of its regional Air Iceland Connect brand as it looks to simplify overall operations. The move, which has been in the works for some time, is to make destinations in the north of Iceland more accessible for connecting international passengers. Meanwhile, there will be no changes to passenger services.
Just one more week of Air Iceland Connect
On Tuesday, Icelandair Group announced that it would join domestic and international services under one operation and brand. This means that its regional Air Iceland Connect branch, operating services between five domestic destinations, will be dismantled, and routes will instead operate under the mainline carrier’s callsign.
Air Iceland Connect, which has flown from Reykjavik to Akureyri, Egilsstaðir, and Ísafjörður to the north of the country and Vestmannaeyjar on the island of Heimaey, will cease to exist one week from today.
The move is meant to encourage future international tourists to connect onward with domestic flights.
“In the longer term, when the provision of domestic flights will become prominent in the Icelandair booking system, our hope is that with powerful marketing and connection to our route network in Europe and North America, we will succeed in increasing the number of tourists on domestic flights,” Bogi Nils Bogason, Director of Icelandair Group, said in a statement.
Mr Bogason added that this would help strengthen key destinations all over the country. In turn, this would lead to higher flight frequency and better service.
After the integration, domestic and regional flights will be operated on Icelandair FI flight numbers although the companies’ operating licenses remain separate. Outstanding travel credits purchased before the integration remain unchanged. The difference is that all customer service will be transferred to Icelandair.
Domestic routes continue to operate as usual
The idea is that destinations farther away from the capital of Reykjavik will become more accessible when booked through the same system as people use to get to the North Atlantic island nation.
Icelandair will continue to serve the same domestic destinations as Air Iceland connect. Flights to Bíldudalur and Gjögur and from Akureyri to Þórshöfn and Grímsey, which are currently operated in collaboration with Norlandair, will only be bookable via the latter’s website. However, there is as of yet no information as to what will happen to seasonal routes to Kulusuk, Nuuk, Ilulissat, Nerlerit Inaat, and Narsarsuaq in Greenland.
Work to consolidate the carriers has been ongoing for some time, the Group said. The goal is to ensure sustainability for domestic operations and to simplify overall operations within the group.
Controversial name change in 2017
Air Iceland Connect was conceived in 1937 as Flugfélag Akureyrar but changed its name to Flugfélag Íslands in 1940. After operating under double denominations for some time, it was fully rebranded as Air Iceland Connect in 2017. The name change was not entirely without controversy in a nation that has traditionally been fiercely protective of its linguistic heritage.
Air Iceland Connect operates a fleet of five De Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8s with an average age of 22.9 years. One of them ended up on a mystery tour to Paris whilst operating a rare flight to London Heathrow in April last year.
Did you ever travel with Air Iceland Connect? What was your experience?