Looking at the Emergence of PLAY In The Last Few Years

Looking at the Emergence of PLAY In The Last Few Years
Anna Zvereva, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

PLAY Airlines, Iceland’s newest low-cost carrier, has carved a niche for itself in the competitive aviation industry in a remarkably short period.

Founded in the wake of another Icelandic airline’s demise, PLAY has managed to not only survive but thrive, offering budget-friendly transatlantic flights with a focus on modern comfort and a distinctly Icelandic character.

Inheriting the Legacy: From WOW Air to PLAY

PLAY’s story begins in 2019, intertwined with the fate of its predecessor, WOW Air.

WOW Air, another Icelandic low-cost carrier, had established itself as a popular option for budget-conscious travelers seeking transatlantic connections.

Unfortunately, WOW Air succumbed to financial difficulties and ceased operations in March 2019.

Looking at the Emergence of PLAY In The Last Few Years
Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

However, the ashes of WOW Air birthed a new opportunity.

Several former WOW Air executives, led by Chief Operations Officer Arnar Magnússon, saw a chance to capitalize on the existing demand for affordable transatlantic travel.

Thus, WAB air, later rebranded as PLAY, was born in November 2019.

PLAY inherited some key assets from WOW Air, including experienced staff and a focus on the low-cost model.

However, PLAY also learned from WOW Air’s mistakes, adopting a more conservative financial approach and a leaner operational structure.

Taking Flight: Launching Service and Building a Fleet

PLAY’s initial plan was ambitious.

They aimed to launch service in late 2019 with a fleet of Airbus A321s, targeting six European destinations.

Unfortunately, delays and the emerging COVID-19 pandemic forced them to postpone their debut.

The airline finally took to the skies in June 2021, with a focus on short-haul European routes from its hub at Keflavík International Airport.

Looking at the Emergence of PLAY In The Last Few Years
Photo Credit: Adrian Olstad/AviationSource

The initial fleet consisted of three Airbus A321neo aircraft, all previously operated by Interjet, a defunct Mexican airline.

Despite the pandemic’s challenges, PLAY saw an opportunity.

With travel restrictions disrupting traditional routes, PLAY capitalized on the demand for safe and affordable travel within Europe.

This focus on regional routes proved crucial in establishing the airline and building a customer base.

By late 2021, PLAY displayed confidence in its future, announcing a significant fleet expansion.

This included orders for brand new Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft, indicating a commitment to fuel efficiency and a modern travel experience.

Expanding Horizons: Crossing the Atlantic

While European routes solidified PLAY’s presence, the airline’s true ambition lay in replicating WOW Air’s success with transatlantic travel.

In late 2021, PLAY announced its expansion into North America, with flights to destinations like Baltimore and Boston commencing in April 2022.

This move marked a significant step for PLAY.

Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

It not only broadened their reach but also placed them in direct competition with established airlines on lucrative transatlantic routes.

PLAY’s focus on budget-friendly fares, coupled with the modern amenities offered by their new Airbus fleet, proved to be a winning formula.

A Recipe for Success: PLAY’s Winning Strategy

PLAY’s success can be attributed to several factors.

  • Leveraging Experience: The airline’s leadership, comprised of former WOW Air executives, brought a wealth of experience in the low-cost carrier market. This experience allowed them to navigate the challenges of the industry while avoiding past mistakes.
  • Financial Prudence: PLAY adopted a more conservative financial approach compared to WOW Air. This focus on fiscal responsibility has ensured the airline’s long-term sustainability.
  • Modern Fleet: PLAY’s commitment to a new Airbus fleet offers passengers a comfortable and fuel-efficient travel experience, enhancing brand image and operational efficiency.
  • Focus on Value: PLAY understands the budget-conscious traveler. By offering no-frills fares with the option to add desired services like checked baggage or meals, PLAY caters to a specific market segment.
  • Icelandic Charm: PLAY incorporates a touch of Icelandic culture into the travel experience, from the design elements to onboard refreshments. This unique touch helps the airline stand out in a crowded market.

Looking Ahead: PLAY’s Future in the Skies

PLAY’s future appears bright.

The airline has successfully established itself in the European market and made a promising entrance into the lucrative transatlantic travel sector.

With a modern fleet, a focus on value, and a distinct Icelandic character, PLAY is well-positioned to carve out a permanent place in the global aviation landscape.

The airline’s continued expansion plans and potential for new routes across the Atlantic indicate their ambition for growth.

PLAY’s success story serves as an example of how a new airline can not only survive but thrive in a competitive industry by capitalizing on experience, strategic knowhow, and more!

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By AviationSource News 6 Min Read
6 Min Read
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