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(Photo: PLAY Airlines)

Icelandic Low Cost Airline PLAY Begins Ticket Sales

New Icelandic low-cost airline PLAY launched ticket sales on its website this week. The launch follows its acquisition of an Air Operator’s Certificate over the weekend.

The airline, based at Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport, announced sales to seven destinations in Europe. Its inaugural flight will be on June 24 to London’s Stansted.

PLAY will begin its operations across June and July with services to Tenerife, Berlin, Alicante, Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen following, in that order.

To help launch sales, the airline sold 1000 seats for free, hidden within its booking engine. Customers booking roundtrips could find the complimentary seats on selected flights.

PLAY, founded in 2019, acquired its Air Operators Certificate on May 16. So far, the airline has secured three Airbus A321neo aircraft through lessor AerCap. Planespotters.net reports that the first aircraft, registered TF-AEW, was first leased by Interjet in May 2018 as XA-JIL. Interjet returned the aircraft to AerCap at the start of May following storage at Goodyear since April 2020.

A tweet from Play suggests the aircraft has since flown from Houston to Lake Charles, Louisiana to have the PLAY livery applied. The livery is set to be red, not too dissimilar in style from the Wow Air livery.

Iceland’s travel sector has not been too optimistic over the last few years. COVID brought a disastrous year for the aviation industry, and former low-cost carrier Wow Air ceased operations in March 2019. As such, Mr. Birgir Jónsson, PLAY’s CEO, said in a news statement that the acquisition of an Air Operators Certificate “marks a turnaround for the Icelandic travel sector.”

Who is PLAY?

In July 2019, two former Wow Air executives announced they would be forming a new airline. At the time, its founders tentatively named the airline WAB air (We Are Back). Fréttablaðið reported in July 2019 that Avianta Capital had committed to financing WAB air with $40 million.

An airline press release from November 2019 announced the renaming of the airline to PLAY. Then, the CEO was Arnar Már Magnusson, a former Wow Air Executive. Other individuals from Wow Air and Air Atlanta were also working to create the airline.

The press release stated that ticket sales would begin in the same month to a few European destinations. PLAY announced there would be 1000 free tickets at launch in the same statement. The airline would launch North American destinations in spring 2020.

Since then, PLAY’s website states Magnússon has become the Chief Operations Officer of the airline. Birgir Jónsson is the airline’s new CEO, previously Wow Air’s Deputy CEO. Fréttablaðið reports that Jónsson used to be the CEO of Íslandspóstur, Iceland’s Postal Service.

Simple Flying reported in April that PLAY had raised $40 million to finance its launch. The capital was raised from pension funds, holding companies and investment companies, among others.

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