Sitting Down With New PLAY CEO Einar Örn Ólafsson

Sitting Down With New PLAY CEO Einar Örn Ólafsson
Photo Credit: PLAY.
James Field - Editor in Chief 6 Min Read
6 Min Read

PLAY has had a leadership change recently with Birgir Jonsson being replaced as CEO with Einar Örn Ólafsson. We sat down with Einar for a quick chat just weeks into his new role.

He has now been set with continuing on the legacy left behind by Jonsson as the airline goes for growth.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

Ólafsson Looks Back on Jonsson’s Tenure…

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

Einar Örn Ólafsson’s relationship with Birgir Jonsson has been pretty close and strong at PLAY.

As Chair of the Board, Ólafsson has worked alongside Jonsson in ensuring the current success story we have seen so far remains consistent.

On his departure, Ólafsson said the following:

“Birgir Jónsson’s contribution to our airline was tremendous.”

“In his three years with PLAY he established a great work culture within the company through a steep ramp up phase where we went from 10 employees to 550 last year.”

“That is now an easy task and to add on that we have established ourselves in key markets which put us in a great place to succeed.”

“Birgir and I have been friends for a long time and we will continue to be so and its worth mentioning that Birgir will still serve as an advisor for PLAY after his CEO tenure.”

“I have as chairman of PLAY´s board worked closely with Birgir Jónsson the past three years where we shared a vision for this company’s future.”

“I will continue the journey Birgir left us on and further emphasize our strategy which is to offer competitive prices everywhere we go.”

It remains clear in this case that the influence from Jonsson will live on at PLAY, with him being an advisor moving forward.

This will provide unique support to Ólafsson in terms of continuing that level of success moving forward.

PLAY Aims To Double Fleet by 2029…

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

At the time of writing, PLAY currently has 10 aircraft in their fleet.

This consists of six Airbus A320neos and four A321neo aircraft, as per data from

When asked about plans for the future, Einar Örn Ólafsson outlined his plans to the end of the decade:

“Our vision for 2029 is to have 18 to 20 aircraft in our fleet.”

“We also want to have a competitive Ex-Fuel CASK by then and our EBIT margin will be more than 10%.”

“We are estimating that our revenue will be around 750 million USD.”

Having 18-20 aircraft would represent an increase in it’s fleet by double, which will allow more routes from Iceland.

PLAY’s route network is already very extensive, covering popular destinations in Europe as well as across the pond.

All eyes will be on what new routes we could see between now and 2029 as aircraft get delivered.

Model of Utilizing Hub and Spoke Model in Iceland Will Continue…

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

The hub and spoke model out of Iceland has been vital for the success of PLAY so far.

PLAY CEO Einar Örn Ólafsson confirmed to AviationSource that it is here to stay,

He also said that Iceland will be used more as a connection point too:

“We will keep on utilizing our hub and spoke model where we transport passengers between North America and Europe with Iceland as a connection point.”

“That way, we maximize our fleet’s potential and keep our cost and can in return offer competitive prices to our customers.”

“Earlier this year we introduced our Stopover option where passengers flying transatlantic can book a stopover in Iceland for up to 10 days with no additional cost.”

“So, we will always encourage our passengers to stop in Iceland and get to know our magical country.”

Furthermore, this will no doubt get larger in terms of demand as more flights are offered by more aircraft at PLAY.


Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

Einar Örn Ólafsson as the CEO of PLAY comes in with the same level of confidence as Jonsson in succeeding.

He is very keen to get properly stuck into the work needed to make the brand more of a success.

“We saw the airline industry turning a corner in 2023 and we are expecting a further strong demand for flying”, he said.

“We will make good use of our hub in Iceland to gain a strong position in our markets where we will keep on giving the competition a run for their money”.

“I am looking forward to keeping up the good work at PLAY where we will continue to build a strong airline that will prosper and give more people the opportunity to travel for less.”

All eyes will of course be on how he gets on in his new role at the airline.

But for now, he joins at a time where the Summer 2024 season is about to get into high-gear.

This is a great opportunity for him to further show his mettle in the aviation industry.

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