PLAY’s Load Factors Increase As It Eyes Expansion

PLAY has seen its load factor increase by over six percentage points in September. The airline is continuing to become established within the Iceland to Europe market and has seen a rise in ticket sales as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic dies down within Iceland.

PLAY, Iceland, Airbus A320neo
PLAY carried 15,223 passengers in September. Photo: Berlin Brandenburg Airport

PLAY is one of the world’s newest airlines. Having launched in mid-July, the airline has only flown for two full calendar months so far. Yet, it seems that things are going well for the low-cost challenger. The airline expects its load factor to continue to rise and is eyeing more staff and new destinations.

52.1% load factor

Since it launched in mid-June, PLAY has already made significant strides when it comes to its operations. In the portion of July that it was operational, the airline carried just short of 10,000 passengers with a load factor of 41.7%. Since July, the airline’s load factor has increased consistently, expecting that it will also rise in October.

The number of passengers conveyed by the airline did drop by 12% from August to September. 15,223 passengers were conveyed by the airline during September. However, the drop is nothing to worry about. It is usual for airlines’ passengers to drop from August, and Simple Flying recently reported that European giant Ryanair had seen such a drop.

PLAY, Iceland, Airbus A320neo
While the airline’s passengers dropped 12%, the load factor is constantly rising. Data: PLAY

Commenting on the results, the airline’s CEO, Birgir Jónsson, commented,

“We have been careful in our plans due to the pandemic. As the local tourism shows signs of recovery and travel restrictions are being relaxed, we see our load factor increase and very positive demand trends for the future. It’s safe to say that we are optimistic and looking forward to a robust next year.”

Hear more from Birgir: You can hear more from Birgir and other industry leaders at Simple Flying’s online Future Flying Forum event in November. Register for free now!

PLAY, Iceland, Airbus A320neo
The airline’s CEO, Birgir Jónsson, revealed he is careful in his plans. Photo: PLAY

Expanding in a PLAYful way

The focus for PLAY moving forward is to expand, although the airline wants to do so systematically and carefully. The airline’s next route launch is now planned for early December. From December 3rd, PLAY will start flying from Keflavik to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. This will initially launch as a twice-weekly service, increasing to four times a week from mid-December.

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It doesn’t stop with Amsterdam, though. While the exact routes are yet to be revealed, PLAY will be announcing additional routes to Europe in the coming weeks. The airline is currently limited in the passengers that it can carry.

PLAY, Iceland, Airbus A320neo
PLAY is continuing its European expansion ahead of heading stateside. Photo: PLAY

Almost every passenger is currently flying to or from Keflavik, as it isn’t practical to fly from London to Berlin via Iceland. From early 2022, the airline is expected to launch connecting services to the United States. This should see the airline’s load factors shoot up in theory, as the flights will become relevant to a different demographic of passenger.

While the next period of significant growth for PLAY is planned for early 2022, the airline is doing the legwork now. Last month the carrier revealed plans to hire 100 more cabin crew members alongside 50 A320 family pilots. This will means that the airline’s employee numbers will double.

What do you make of PLAY’s September passenger results? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!