PLAY releases performance data for August

A PLAY Airbus parked on the ramp.
Photo Credit: CNW Group/PLAY
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read

Icelandic low-cost carrier PLAY has released its August figures, showing a 70% uplift on last year’s figure.

The load factor in August 2023 was 88.9%, compared to 86.9% load factor in August 2022, and PLAY had an on-time performance of 90.1%.  

Passenger Numbers

August 2023 carry PLAY Airlines 184,926 passengers. This number represents a firm 70% increase compared to August 2022 when PLAY transported 108,622 passengers.

A PLAY Airbus A320 parked at the Keflavik terminal.
Photo Credit: Luca Zocche

Load Factors and On-Time Performance

PLAY Airlines prides itself on maintaining high load factors and on-time performance. In August 2023, the airline achieved a respectable load factor of 88.9%, a slight improvement from the 86.9% load factor recorded in August 2022.

Additionally, PLAY Airlines maintained an on-time performance rate of 90.1%, ensuring that passengers reach their destinations promptly and efficiently.


Diverse Passenger Demographics

A closer look at the passenger demographics in August 2023 reveals an interesting pattern. Of all passengers flying with PLAY during this month, 22.1% were departing from Iceland, 35% were traveling to Iceland, and 42.9% were connecting passengers (VIA).

This data highlights PLAY’s role as a key player in connecting travelers to and from Iceland, contributing to the nation’s connectivity.

Performance Across Destinations

August witnessed strong performance across PLAY’s network, with many destinations boasting load factors exceeding 90%.

Notably, cities like Prague, Toronto, and Barcelona stood out with load factors exceeding an impressive 95%.

Rising Ancillary Revenue

The financial success of PLAY Airlines in August 2023 extended beyond passenger numbers. The airline reported a 33% increase in average ancillary revenue compared to August 2022.

This upward trend suggests that PLAY Airlines is effectively capitalizing on ancillary services, further solidifying its financial stability.

Nominations for Prestigious Awards

PLAY Airlines received prestigious nominations that reflect its commitment to excellence. The airline has been nominated for the “Best Cabin Crew” award by USA Today.

This recognition is particularly noteworthy, given that PLAY Airlines only embarked on its commercial journey in June 2021.

Among the nominees are major global airlines, underscoring the exceptional service provided by PLAY’s cabin crew.

Additionally, PLAY Airlines has received a nomination for the “Best Low-Cost Carrier” category at the Danish Travel Awards. This recognition highlights PLAY’s standing among well-established low-cost airlines and its growing reputation in the industry.

Expanding Fleet and Outlook

PLAY Airlines is poised for expansion in the coming years, with plans to increase its fleet of aircraft. The airline has already secured two brand-new A320neos, set to enter service in the summer of 2025.

Negotiations are also underway for additional capacity in 2024 and 2025. These strategic moves signal PLAY’s commitment to growth and development in the aviation sector.

Financial Outlook and Considerations

Despite its remarkable performance, PLAY Airlines remains vigilant about potential challenges, including inflation and increased living costs, which could impact demand during the winter months.

The airline acknowledges the uncertainty in the fourth quarter and beyond, a situation echoed by many airlines worldwide.

As previously stated, PLAY Airlines anticipated a narrow but positive operating margin (EBIT) for the full year of 2023. The operational profit (EBIT) for the third quarter has been robust, surpassing expectations.

However, the rising cost of oil, a significant expense, poses a challenge. A 25% increase in oil prices, combined with inflation, may affect the airline’s financial results.

Consequently, PLAY Airlines cannot guarantee a positive operational result (EBIT) as previously projected.

Nonetheless, the airline is poised for a significant financial turnaround, with a healthy cash position expected at year-end.

Words from the CEO

Birgir Jonsson, CEO of PLAY Airlines, expressed his satisfaction with the airline’s performance in August 2023. He emphasized the outstanding load factor and on-time performance, highlighting the team’s dedication and hard work, saying:

“Our great team of people continues to do an exceptional job, and it was fantastic to see the PLAY Crew nominated among some of the biggest airlines in the world as the best cabin crew by USA Today.”

“At the time of writing our crew was leading the poll as voted for by the readers of this major US newspaper. A stunning achievement for a team that has only been flying for just over two years for a small startup airline!”     

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