Icelandair to Belfast:will it succeed?Back to Forum
Icelandair has announced that it will be flying to Belfast. The question is though, will it succeed? Personally, I hope so as it gives more choice instead of going down south or having to fly with the low cost carrier, BA…
However I don’t think enough people will be tempted since when you go down south, you can clear US customs and you have a wider choice of destinations.2 Dec 2016
They may get lucky with some feed from the Reykjavík route that Easyjet is dropping in April from BFS… but totally agree with your points about the benefits of clearing US immigration not too far down the road…2 Dec 2016
But on the other hand Icelandair has only to fill a Q400 when it flies three times a week ex-Belfast Harbour.
The latter is very convenient for those who live and/pr work in the city. And Icelandair tells us that there will be no fewer than 18 North American destinations available from Reykjavik in 2017.
Price will also be important. And Icelandair will be expected to have keen pricing for its North American services ex-Belfast.
Remember it was the Icelandic carrier Loftleidir which pioneered low-cost transatlantic flights many years before Laker’s Skytrain and US LCC People Express.2 Dec 2016
I can’t see any reason why this route will succeed.
Its not 7x, it’s a turboprop (most people do not like those) and if you look at the great circle routes to the US, this is not great.
Dublin is set up with lot of options, some with preclearance, offering a far better option IMHO.3 Dec 2016
It might be a first step. There is a move towards more passengers flying low cost carriers. And a Q400 is only 74 seats. It may be a step up to a small jet like a B737 or A318/319/320.
On the other hand: transatlantic routes are getting a bit crowded. Are capacity and options to fly from/to not increasing too much and too fast to keep up with demand?3 Dec 2016
Ultimately I think it all comes down to price and what type of travellers the airline are trying to attract; the direct flight traveller or the non-direct traveller. Direct flying travellers, no chance. Non-direct flight travellers, maybe small change of attracting some as they have the rest of the UK to choose from, and that’s a lot of choice, especially when you consider Heathrow.3 Dec 2016
Belfast will not be the only UK route that Icelandair will operate using Q400 aircraft (operated by Air Iceland). Aberdeen is already served by this aircraft (currently twice a week; 4 times a week in summer) and, apparently, Inverness is being considered. It would be interesting to see passenger reviews of the Aberdeen service – I cannot find any.3 Dec 2016
I agree with AMcWhirter. That’s only about 220 bums on seats required each week.
I had a quick look at prices for next summer to the US, and Air Iceland/Icelandair consistently comes out with the lowest o/w fares.
I would rather see a B757 to BFS, but this is very welcome news.4 Dec 2016
We are about to see a severe downturn for air carriers, this route has no chance of long term survival IMHO.
1 – TATL market is saturated with carriers/capacity, downturn will result in savage price cutting
2 – The long turboprop sector will put off many
3 – The connections aint’ that convenient
4 – Better connections available through DUB
5 – Pre-clearance available through DUB
I predicted that Ryanair would takeout EI/Stobart on the LPL-DUB run and I predict a hard market will do the same for this route.
220 seats may not sound a lot, but they will be hard to sell in a tough market.4 Dec 2016