Icelandair is aiming to return to net profit in 2022, after starting on a path to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
On February 3, 2022, the Icelandic flag carrier reported a net loss for 2021 of $104.8 million, a big improvement on the loss of $376.2 million for 2020.
“With a clear strategy, a robust financial position and an outstanding team of employees, I believe we are in a strong position to take advantage of market opportunities and reach our primary post-pandemic objective to return to sustainable operating results,” chief executive Bogi Nils Bogason commented on the plans to return to net profit in 2022.
In the final quarter of 2021, Icelandair flew 65% of its 2019 capacity and said unit revenues in the quarter were only 3% below 2019 levels, despite the Omicron variant of COVID-19 hitting travel demand in December.
Bogason highlighted the scale of the ramp-up during the year. “Using our flexibility to adapt to the situation at any given time, we went from serving only four destinations with 10 weekly departures from Iceland early in the year to 200 departures a week to 34 destinations during the summer peak.”
While cargo revenues and volumes exceeded pre-pandemic levels, the company’s leasing business remained difficult, with 2021 revenues at only 43% of pre-crisis levels, Bogason said. However, Icelandair did win some interesting leasing business when it flew 13 flights to Antarctica with scientists and tourists.
Icelandair is currently accepting 737 MAX aircraft into its fleet. It has taken advantage of what it described as favorable conditions in the market to lease two additional aircraft, meaning it will have 14 737 MAX aircraft in operation for summer 2022.