The Story Of Icelandair’s Fokker 50 Fleet

Icelandic flag carrier Icelandair is known for its Boeing-dominated fleet of twin-engine jetliners. These include designs from the 737 MAX, 757, and 767 families. However, for its domestic services, it turns to turboprop aircraft. While de Havilland Dash 8s now fill this role, it used to be the domain of the Fokker 50, of which Icelandair operated four.

Icelandair Fokker 50
Icelandair’s Fokker 50s wore Flugleiðir branding. Photo: Steve Knight via Flickr

An updated domestic fleet

According to data from ATDB.aero, Icelandair operated a total of four Dutch-designed Fokker 50 turboprop airliners in the 1990s. These were not the Icelandic flag carrier’s first aircraft from the Netherlands-based manufacturer. Indeed, it had also previously deployed the Fokker F27 ‘Friendship’ on its domestic services between 1965 and 1992.

However, the time had eventually come to renew the airline’s domestic fleet. Icelandair’s website explains that it acquired the new turboprops on a lease-purchase deal, having sold the older F27s for what it deemed to be ‘a good price.’ The airline adds that:

The new planes arrived in 1992, landing at the main domestic airports: the first at Akureyri, the next at Egilsstaðir, then Ísafjörður and finally in the Westman Islands. When the last plane arrived, they all took off for Reykjavík, arriving together, in formation.”

Icelandair Fokker F27
Icelandair’s Fokker 50s replaced F27s like this one. Photo: Rolf Wallner via Wikimedia Commons

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When did they arrive?

Data from ATDB.aero shows that Icelandair‘s four Fokker 50s joined the airline across a three-month period in 1992. The first to come onboard was TF-FIR, on February 15th that year. Two weeks later, February 29th, 1992 marked the arrival of TF-FIS, the second example.

Following this pair of arrivals, there was a brief hiatus of nearly two months before Icelandair’s third Fokker 50 arrived. This aircraft bore the registration TF-FIT, and joined the Icelandic flag carrier on April 25th, 1992. The fourth and final Fokker 50 to come onboard was TF-FIU, which completed the set on May 9th, 1992. But how long did they stay for?

When did they leave?

Airfleets.net notes that TF-FIS and TF-FIU did briefly leave the airline for leases to Austrian Air Services and Skyways Airlines in the mid-1990s. However, 1997 was the year that these aircraft left Icelandair for good. According to data from ch-aviation.com, the first to go was TF-FIU, which did so in September that year, eventually joining Air Nostrum.

Icelandair Fokker 50
TF-FIT, as seen here, was Icelandair’s third Fokker 50. Photo: Udo Haafke via Wikimedia Commons

Icelandair’s remaining three Fokker 50s departed the carrier in November 1997. This brought an end to the Icelandic flag carrier’s five-year relationship with the Dutch turboprop. These planes joined regional brand Air Iceland Connect, and went on to fly in Kenya.

TF-FIT is currently in storage in Nairobi as 5Y-WFC. However, ch-aviation’s data reports that 5Y-WFB (formerly TF-FIR) remains active with Buffair services to this day. Meanwhile, TF-FIS was damaged beyond repair in October 2019 due to a runway overrun. The incident occurred in Nairobi, and it was flying for Silverstone Air Services at this time.

As an afterthought, it is also worth noting that several other Fokker 50s also flew for Air Iceland Connect without passing through Icelandair itself. This regional carrier, formerly known as Flugfélag Íslands, was a subsidiary of the Icelandic flag carrier before being merged into the national airline in March this year.

Did you know about Icelandair’s former Fokker 50 fleet? Perhaps you flew on one of these aircraft during their time at the Icelandic flag carrier? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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