PLAY sees June 2024 passenger numbers rise, enhances distribution networks   

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PLAY Airlines has revealed its latest monthly performance figures which show that the Icelandic low-cost carrier continues to grow and carry increasing numbers of passengers month-on-month.   

The figures released for June 2024 show that the airline carried 173,109 passengers during the month, representing a 7.5% increase over June 2023, when the airline carried 160,979 passengers. The airline carried 146,692 passengers in May 2024, indicating a steady rise in customer numbers as the summer peak travel period approaches.  

Across other metrics, the carrier managed to increase its overall capacity, measured in available seat kilometers (ASKs) by 8.8% year-on-year, while revenues per passenger kilometers (RPKs) increased by 7.3% between June 2023 and June 2024. One figure that did fall slightly was the carrier’s network load factor which for June 2024 was 86.0%, a small drop from 87.2% seen in June 2023.    

According to the carrier, several factors contributed to this lower load factor figure. Primarily, said the airline, the drop was due to the increased capacity of transatlantic flights from competing carriers, particularly on PLAY’s five key routes to the US. However, this drop was offset by the overall rise in passengers as the company’s European services continue to perform well.  

In June 2024, 31.9% of PLAY’s passengers were originating their travel from Iceland, while 24.3% were flying to Iceland as point-to-point passengers. 43.8% were connecting passengers, using PLAY’s hub at Reykjavik-Keflavik International Airport (KEF) as a connecting point between eastbound and westbound travel (and vice versa) – referred to by the airline as ‘VIA’ passengers.   

  

PLAY

The carrier was buoyed by the fact that it continues to increase market share in its own backyard. Its share of passengers originating travel from Iceland increased from 29.8% in June 2023 to 31.9% in June 2024.  

PLAY’s on-time performance reached 91.4% in June 2024, surpassing its annual target of 85% and improving significantly from 81.2% in June 2023. In May 2024, this figure was 86.8, indicating that the airline continues to improve its punctuality, despite operating a relatively small fleet of just 10 aircraft to 40 destinations.  

“We are pleased to see growth in our passenger numbers, although we had hoped for a higher load factor,” said Einar Örn Ólafsson, PLAY’s CEO. “This result reflects the increased competition in transatlantic flights and a reduction in tourists to Iceland is a direct result of a surge in marketing efforts from neighboring countries above what we are experiencing out of Iceland.”  

“We are delighted to see that we are still growing our share in the Icelandic market. It is evident that people in Iceland are happy with our services and that the word is spreading. We have always aimed to be the leading airline for leisure travel from Iceland, and our growing local share reflects that commitment,” he continued.  

“Our world-class on-time performance of 91.4% in June 2024 showcases our excellent services. This achievement is the result of the dedication of my colleagues in the operations team at PLAY, who are always fully focused on ensuring our flight plans run as smoothly as possible,” he added. 

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Growing global connections  

The company is currently in the process of expanding commercial partnerships with several stakeholders in a move that is aimed at helping PLAY deal with cyclic seasonality and maintain high load factors across its network.          

The airline recently expanded its partnership with Dohop, the Icelandic technology startup that offers a booking engine focused on meshing cheap international flights across several carriers. Through the relationship, PLAY launched its PLAY Connect offering in June 2024 which allows customers to book connecting flights operated by PLAY along with other airlines such as Norwegian, Azores Airlines, and SKY Express, with others soon to join, says the airline.  

The functionality behind PLAY Connect allows customers to book “hundreds of weekly flight connections worldwide” through a single, simple-to-use platform.   

“PLAY Connect enables travelers to conveniently book flight connections across multiple airline partners including ancillaries in a single booking process, complementing the 40 destinations that PLAY already serves in Europe and North America,” states the airline.  

Additionally, PLAY has also partnered with GO7, a global leader in airline technology, to broaden its distribution capability.  Through partnering with GO7, PLAY flights are now bookable in all major airline global distribution systems (GDSs) worldwide, which enables travel agencies to book PLAY‘s flights, wherever they may be located globally. 

“The new agreements with Dohop and GO7 are significant steps for PLAY and will enhance our profile in both North America and Europe,” said Ólafsson.  

“Our expanded partnership with Dohop will provide customers with a variety of connections, allowing them to reach their dream destinations for less. The agreement with GO7 will make our flights available to a large group of travel agents, extending our brand further into existing and new markets,” he concluded. 

Markus Mainka / Shutterstock

Marking three years of flights  

The Reykjavik-based company celebrated its third anniversary on June 24, 2024, having launched its first commercial flight from Iceland to London-Stansted Airport (STN) on June 24, 2021. Over the past three years, PLAY has expanded rapidly, growing its fleet from three to ten aircraft and currently employing around 500 staff 

According to ch-aviation, PLAY’s fleet of ten Airbus A320neo family aircraft has an average age of 3.6 years. The fleet comprises six 180-seat A320neos and four 214-seat A321neos. The airline serves destinations as far west as Toronto, Canada, and as far east as Athens, Greece.  

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