Icelandic startup PLAY has begun flights to Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Following the airline’s launch ten days ago, it has already started branching out, adding a total of three routes to its network. As the airline takes delivery of more aircraft, it will add further routes and destinations.
While some would argue that the middle of a pandemic would be the worst time to launch an airline, the CEO of PLAY would disagree. Last week Birgir Jónsson told Simple Flying that now was the perfect time to launch an airline, and he’s gone ahead and done just that.
First flight to Berlin
On Friday, PLAY operated its first flight to Germany. This saw its only aircraft, for the time being, TF-AEW, flying from the airline’s Reykjavik home to Berlin, the capital of Germany. The aircraft departed from Keflavik International Airport (KEF) at 15:23 as flight OG3. This was eight minutes after the planned departure of 15:15.
Having spent three hours and 18 minutes in the skies while cruising at 39,000 feet, the aircraft touched down at Berlin’s new airport at 20:41, almost 25 minutes early, according to data from RadarBox.com. For the return leg of the trip, the aircraft departed Berlin Brandenburg (BER) at 22:12. The flight back to Iceland lasted three hours and five minutes, with the plane touching down at 23:17.
Berlin will see a fairly regular service from Iceland’s new red-liveried carrier. The airline is scheduled to fly to the German capital city every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
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A network set to grow
PLAY was launched with just one Airbus A321neo. As its aircraft can’t be in two places at once, this means that the airline’s initial route network is relatively small. In the last ten days since the airline launched, it has flown to London Stansted five times, Berlin twice, and Tenerife once. By the winter, the airline hopes to have added a further two aircraft. It will add flights to Copenhagen, Salzburg, Paris, Barcelona, Alicante, and Gran Canaria with these.
PLAY’s CEO is under the impression that WOW failed because it expanded too quickly. He doesn’t see a similar future for PLAY, which he says isn’t a true ultra-low-cost carrier. Instead, the airline plans to expand in an organized manner, getting things right before adding further services.
Eventually, the plan is to start flying east of Reykjavik, too, meaning that passengers will be able to connect between Europe and North America on its services. The airline is aligning its banks to make connections between flights as easy as possible, meaning that it won’t ever fly as far as Los Angeles.
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