Icelandair Is Adding Flights To Dallas As Of May 2018

Iceland’s two largest airlines just can’t stop growing. A bit over a week ago I wrote about how WOW Air is adding 3x weekly flights between Iceland and Dallas as of May 2018. Well, they’re not alone.

Icelandair will also be adding 4x weekly flights between Iceland and Dallas as of May 2018. Icelandair’s new flight will launch on May 30, 2018, and will operate with the following schedule:

FI873 Keflavik to Dallas departing 5:15PM arriving 8:40PM [Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat]
FI872 Dallas to Keflavik departing 5:00PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day) [Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun]

The flight is blocked at 8hr25min westbound, and 8hr eastbound. The flight covers a distance of 3,743 miles. It will be operated by a Boeing 757-200, featuring 183 seats, including business class, premium economy, and economy.


Icelandair’s 757 business class

As you’ll notice based on the schedule, the aircraft utilization on this route is terrible, as the plane sits on the ground in Dallas for 20 hours. This is because Icelandair’s route network is based so heavily around optimizing connections between the US and Europe, so the priority is that all flights are timed to maximize connections in Iceland.

They’d rather have a plane sit idle for 20 hours (which is very expensive, not just in terms of the actual parking costs, but also in terms of the opportunity cost), but time it so that connections are maximized. Icelandair does this for a few of their long routes. For example, Icelandair has historically had a plane sitting on the ground in Seattle for 23 hours per day.

The growth of both Icelandair and WOW Air has been interesting to watch. Icelandair has been around for a long time, while WOW Air’s expansion has increased greatly the past few years. Over the past two years or so WOW Air has added flights to about a dozen US airports, which has given Icelandair quite a bit of competition.

It has been a while since I’ve been to Keflavik Airport, though I have to wonder how much more growth they can support, purely in terms of logistics. With dozens of planes arriving at once and with 1-2 hour connections, the airport was chaotic a few years ago during peak times, and I imagine it’s only crazier nowadays.

While WOW Air typically has lower fares than Icelandair, WOW Air also charges a lot more fees. Icelandair can still represent a great deal, and keep in mind they’re partners with Alaska Mileage Plan, so you can earn and redeem Mileage Plan miles for travel on Icelandair, which is a plus.

Here are the Mileage Plan earning rates on Icelandair:

And here are the redemption rates:

This is exciting news for DFW, which was one of the biggest US airports without service from an Icelandic airline. At the same time, with the aircraft utilization on this route, I really do have to wonder how profitable a route like this can be.

Comments

  1. Surprised they are trying to compete head on more than trying to avoid each other across some US destination. I don’t think some markets will be able to support two carriers to Iceland, especially at an AA hub like DFW that will likely drop fares on Europe routes.

  2. Eventually someone is going to look at Phoenix and say, “hmm, maybe they could use a few more transats. Condor 2xweekly is a start but where’s the PHX love?

  3. If only foreign airlines could fly domestic North American flights instead of being parked all day at the airport we would be better off.

  4. What with the Wright Ammendment and the lack of Immigration and Customs facilities at Love Field, I assume you mean DFW? People on the western side of the Metroplex get touchy about such things …

  5. The airport (KEF) is not keeping up. Seating is limited and Icelandair is using a lot of remote stands, even for major routes. The Saga lounge is quite nice, though.

  6. DFW isn’t charging Icelandair (nor any other airline for that matter) to park their airline over night.

    Regardless, the utilization remains terrible.

    Lots of open concrete at DFE free for the taking.

  7. Surely the key to this is aircraft costs – almost zero thanks to FI’s policy of using fully amortized 757s? Cost of leaving one on the ground is trivial compared with, for example, the pair of Qantas A380s that used to pass the day from 0600 to 2100 at Heathrow.
    Much cheaper than positioning crew to DFW etc.

  8. They finished a new extension at Keflavik this year and moved the Saga class lounge to a bigger area. For flights to the UK , there are no passport or extra security checks so it’s very painless. Even entering Schengen is pretty painless.

    I used to use the SEA flight a lot — the Icelandair station manager told me that they used the 23 hours on the ground there for maintenance as KEF has limited capacity to maintain the fleet. Given it’s an all-Boeing airline, I suppose it makes sense

  9. Their growth is a bubble, and either a fuel-price spike or a complication with KEF facilities will burst it.

    Also, I would’ve thought an eight-hour flight in a narrowbody’s economy class would be a deal-breaker for most people, but America keeps surprising me with how low it can go. Still, these two airlines have some issues with fleet age/capacity/comfort that will surely increase as their visibility grows and the quirk-factor wears off.

  10. Maybe they’re doing specific maintenance during the 20 hours idle and will rotate the planes flying there through their fleet.

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