The Editor’s Corner #4: PLAY Will Transform The Market with a Post-Pandemic Edge

A PLAY Airbus A321neo on the taxiway.
Tobias Green, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Icelandic low-cost carrier PLAY will transform the market with a post-pandemic edge as it inaugurated services to the United States this week.

The Editor’s Corner is going to be an op-ed series from AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field, who is going to give his thoughts (Maybe controversial) on all things going on in the aviation industry.

James will be starting things off with his next topic being: PLAY Will Transform The Market with a Post-Pandemic Edge

PLAY Will Transform The Market with a Post-Pandemic Edge

In just nine months, PLAY has occupied a lot of space in the airline industry.

From bolstering its European operations to the beginning of a new era for them in inaugurating services to the United States, the carrier seems to be in a strong position already.

With that in mind, how far can they go, especially as we come out of COVID?

Is PLAY Similar To Now Defunct-WOW Air?

A lot of critics suggest that PLAY is occupying the space of the now defunct-WOW Air which ceased operations in March 2019 after a seven-year stint in the air.

However, as we will discuss later on in this piece, PLAY is being very cautious, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and through the global implication of the Ukraine Crisis.

The carrier only has five aircraft at the moment, and seems to be adding aircraft to their fleet when and as they need them, which is always a clever move.

I think, therefore, that PLAY is a lot more different from WOW Air, as it has adopted a strategy for success that will definitely see them succeed beyond the seven-year mark that WOW Air made it to.

Success in the U.S Is Likely…

Following the carrier’s inaugural into the United States through Baltimore, the carrier has big plans for the Summer 2022 schedule on that side of the pond.

The Baltimore inauguration is the start of things for the carrier.

Next month, the airline will begin its service to Boston and then New York from June, which will both be served on a daily basis.

That means by June, the carrier will provide three U.S destinations from Iceland, all operating daily.

All three destinations will most definitely tie in well with Iceland’s tourism opportunities for American visitors who wish to explore more of Iceland.

With it being a mix of secondary and primary airports, it seems that PLAY has definitely found a good mix in the way it can serve the U.S effectively.

Post-Pandemic Potential…

I like to think that PLAY very much took an approach that AviationSource did when it comes to creating a business in a pandemic.

A lot of skepticism was placed on us when we launched a year ago, saying that we wouldn’t last very long, yet here we are, still kicking and fighting.

PLAY started out operations at a time when there was so much uncertainty around COVID and when the globe was going to get back to some form of normalcy.

In a volatile industry like aviation, it is understandable why there was so much skepticism, as things like a global pandemic and other crazy events in the world can make or break a business.

Taking It Nice & Slow…

As mentioned above in this article, PLAY’s strategy of taking things nice and slow with what they have got has worked out well for them so far.

The carrier has clearly looked at the way the other carriers in the Scandinavian region operated, and I refer to Norwegian in this, was growing too quickly, which had ghastly consequences.

Whilst it is launching a lot of new routes over the Summer, this is within the capacity constraints that it has deliberately put on itself, which is a good thing.

This will reduce the chances of failure down the line, and is a business model that new start-ups should follow down the line.

Overall: PLAY is Built for Success…

PLAY has definitely built itself up to succeed in the long term.

The carrier has had a fantastic start to operations so far, and will no doubt continue on this going into the Summer season.

Looking ahead, the carrier will be looking to secure as much market share away from the likes of Icelandair, particularly on routes to the U.S and other summer destinations.

But for now, PLAY just needs to continue the path it is on and not deviate. From there, we will see a very successful carrier in the making.

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