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Icelandair’s backbone and workhorse Boeing 757-200 aircraft landing at Washington Dulles International Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ben Suskind)

Icelandair Plans Resumption of Flights to Portland, Oregon

On Monday, March 15, Iceland announced the reopening of its borders to anyone with a COVID-19 vaccine without the need to quarantine or testing. Following the decision, Icelandair is anticipating an increased volume of travel to the country, which will allow them to resume a variety of routes. Icelandair plans to resume its seasonal flight to Portland, Oregon, starting on July 2.

The flight departs from Portland, Oregon, three times a week on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through the end of October. Additionally, it arrives in Portland, Or. on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, causing a 22-plus hour overnight at the airport. From the airline’s hub in Keflavik to Portland, the flight takes 8 hours and 7 hours and 30 minutes on the way back.

Origin Destination Departure Time Arrival Time
Reykjavik, Iceland Portland, Or. 4:50 P.M. 5:50 P.M.
Portland, Or. Reykjavik, Iceland 3:35 P.M. 6:05 A.M.

Flights between the cities first commenced twice weekly in May 2015. At its peak, however, the route was operated six times a week, showing its success pre-COVID-19. Similar to previous years but subject to change, Icelandair will utilize its Boeing 757-200 on the route, seating 183 passengers. It features 22 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration and 161 economy seats in a 3-3 configuration.

In a press release, Director of Air Service Development at Portland International Airport, David Zielke, states, “We are thrilled to welcome Icelandair back to PDX.  There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel. As cities and countries re-open and welcome back tourists, we appreciate Icelandair reestablishing the connection between Portland and Reykjavik.”

Icelandair Regional Manager, North America, Grimur Gislason adds, “Iceland has been eagerly waiting for visitors to freely return and Icelandair is excited to continue connecting these two great cities as brighter days begin to return.”

In past years, Portland Or. was the site of a growing international network. In 2020, British Airways planned to operate a new service from London Heathrow but never came to fruition due to the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, service by Delta to Amsterdam and Tokyo is temporarily suspended. However, flights to Frankfurt on Condor will resume in the summer.

Icelandair Tourist Reopening

As mentioned above, Iceland announced the reopening of its borders to vaccinated people in non-Schengen countries, effective on March 18, 2021. These countries include the U.S, Canada, Asia, and the United Kingdom. To enter the country if a traveler is vaccinated, a passenger needs a record of vaccination like a CDC-issued certificate.  If shown, vaccinated travelers will not require a test or quarantine and are free to roam the country.

Furthermore, those who have been previously infected with COVID-19 can enter the country without quarantine.  For these people, a record of a positive PCR test from 14 days or older is necessary. As for travelers without a vaccination, a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure is required, in addition to a quarantine. 

Currently, Icelandair only operates flights to Boston two times a week. With the ramp-up of vaccinations in Europe and the United States of America, Icelandair is anticipating higher levels of demand. In addition to resuming flights to Portland, the airline has reopened booking for flights to Orlando from July 24. The Icelandic-flag carrier is looking at serving 11 destinations in North America, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark, New York-JFK, Orlando, Portland and Washington-Dulles in the United States; and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, subject to change.

Icelandair Consolidation

In recent weeks, Icelandair announced the consolidation of its domestic subsidiary, Air Iceland Connect, into Icelandair. At the time, CEO Bogi Nils Bogadson, stated, “As our domestic flights become more visible through Icelandair’s booking engines, we hope to open more of Iceland to the world with easy connections to our network in Europe and North America while increasing the number of tourists within our domestic operations.”

Furthermore, the airline will replace its cargo operation with a sale and leaseback deal on two Boeing 767s. These two aircraft are destined to replace their two Boeing 757-200 freighters, adding 50% more capacity to its cargo network.

Winston Shek
Winston Shek
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