PLAY Airlines Maintains Passenger Growth Despite Increased Competition

A PLAY Airlines Airbus taxis after landing.
Photo Credit: PLAY Airlines

PLAY Airlines continued its passenger growth trajectory in June 2024, transporting 173,109 passengers.

This marks a 7.5% increase compared to June 2023. However, the airline acknowledges a slight dip in load factor, which went from 87.2% in June 2023 to 86.0% in June 2024.

Increased Competition, Local Market Growth

PLAY attributes the lower load factor primarily to the expansion of transatlantic flights offered by competing airlines.

Despite this heightened competition, PLAY reports positive developments within key European markets.

Passenger Breakdown and OTP

In June 2024, PLAY’s passenger base consisted of 31.9% flying from Iceland, 24.3% flying to Iceland, and 43.8% connecting passengers.

Notably, the share of passengers departing from Iceland increased slightly from 29.8% in June 2023 to 31.9% in June 2024. This highlights PLAY’s success in maintaining its Icelandic market presence.

PLAY also achieved a strong on-time performance of 91.4% in June 2024. This exceeded its annual target of 85% and represented a significant improvement from 81.2% in June 2023.

a PLAY aircraft takes off at sunset.
Photo Credit: PLAY

Celebrating Milestones: 3rd Anniversary and Top Honors

June 24th also marked PLAY’s 3rd anniversary, commemorating their inaugural commercial flight from Iceland to London in 2021.

Over these past three years, PLAY has undergone a remarkable expansion, growing its fleet from three aircraft to ten and its staff to around 500 employees.

The airline’s initial network of seven destinations has flourished to encompass over 40 destinations in 2024.

For the second consecutive year, PLAY has been recognized as the leading low-cost airline in Northern Europe by the prestigious World Airline Awards.

This recognition is based on customer satisfaction surveys conducted by Skytrax, a renowned British company established in 1999.

Additionally, PLAY secured a spot among the top 100 global airlines for the second year running, climbing four positions from 91st in 2023 to 87th in 2024.

Notably, PLAY ranked a remarkable 167th in 2022. PLAY also achieved the distinction of being ranked 3rd among the world’s most improved airlines at this event.

A PLAY A320neo parked at the terminal.
Photo Credit: CNW Group/PLAY

Embracing Challenges and Celebrating Success

Einar Örn Ólafsson, PLAY’s CEO, expressed satisfaction with the passenger growth while acknowledging the desired higher load factor.

He attributes this result to the intensified competition in the transatlantic flight market and a decline in Iceland’s tourist influx due to increased marketing efforts by neighboring countries compared to those targeting Iceland specifically.

Ólafsson reiterates the need for a collaborative effort from the tourism industry and substantial government support to bolster demand for flights to Iceland, echoing a point made in a previous traffic report.

Sitting Down With New PLAY CEO Einar Örn Ólafsson
Photo Credit: PLAY.

He emphasizes that with the right messaging and a strategic promotional push, Iceland’s breathtaking natural wonders can attract a wider range of visitors.

Ólafsson expressed delight regarding PLAY’s growing share of the Icelandic market, highlighting passenger satisfaction and positive word-of-mouth.

He reiterated PLAY’s commitment to being the leading Icelandic leisure travel airline, reflected in their expanding domestic market share.

The CEO highlighted PLAY’s world-class on-time performance of 91.4% in June 2024 as a testament to their exceptional service.

He attributed this achievement to the dedication of the PLAY operations team, who consistently ensure smooth flight operations.

Ólafsson concluded by expressing immense pride in being recognized as the best low-cost airline in Northern Europe for the second consecutive year.

He considers achieving a spot within the top 100 global airlines and climbing four positions as a powerful validation of the exceptional services delivered daily by PLAY’s staff. He expressed his sincere gratitude for their contribution to the airline’s success.


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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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