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Icelandair Boeing 757 wearing the “Vatnajökull” livery on short final to Seattle-Tacoma (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Icelandair Extends Seasonal Services to Portland and Raleigh-Durham into 2023

Icelandair has announced an extension to the seasonal routes offered from the airline’s base at Keflavik airport (KEF) to Portland International Airport (PDX) and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). Initially the Icelandic carrier was scheduled to operate the services until the end of the Northern Summer season in October. The extended season will now see the airline operating flights from Oregon and North Carolina until February.

Icelandair began operations from Raleigh-Durham in May and at the time Michael Landguth, president and chief executive of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority acknowledged the demand from passengers in the region. Mr. Landguth said: “Icelandair will help meet that growing demand by offering leisure and business travelers nonstop service to a new destination and global connections to major cities on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Announcing the extension of services on Thursday Mr. Landguth stated: “We’re very pleased the Iceland route has been very successful.” A post-pandemic high of just over 1.1 million passengers traveled through RDU in July though this was still 81 percent of the July 2019 figure according to the Durham Herald Sun.

The newspaper reports that RDU was offering an incentive program to increase international carriers to operate from the airport. According to one report, ‘the program waived several airline fees, up to $250,000 a year per route for two years, and provided an additional $25,000 to promote a new flight’. The Durham Herald Sun stated that Icelandair was the only international airline to take advantage of the program. As a result passengers from the region are able to travel to Iceland or transit through Keflavik airport to more than 20 European destinations.

Passengers at PDX Still Well Below 2019 Levels

Portland International Airport was forecasting that 1.4 million passengers would travel through PDX in July. This is approximately 70 percent of 2019 figures for the same month even with the World Athletic Championships being held in Oregon between 15-24 July. For the whole of the summer season PDX is forecasting 4.2 million passengers in total against a 2019 pre-pandemic summer total of 5.7 million.

In June international passengers only accounted for just over 4 percent of enplaning and deplaning passengers at PDX. To promote the continued service from PDX, Icelandair is running a campaign for passengers to win four $1,500 gift certificates, each valid for two round-trip tickets to Iceland.

Icelandair will operate four times weekly from RDU from 01 November until 07 January 2023. The airline will operate a Boeing 737 MAX 8 on the KEF-RDU route on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Flights from PDX will also operate four times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays also from 01 November until 07 January 2023. The carrier will utilize its Boeing 757-200 aircraft seating 184 passengers on the PDX-KEF route.


  • John has always had a passion for aviation and through a career with Air New Zealand has gained a strong understanding of aviation operations and the strategic nature of the industry. During his career with the airline, John held multiple leadership roles and was involved in projects such as the introduction of both the 777-200 and -300 type aircraft and the development of the IFE for the 777-300. He was also part of a small team who created and published the internal communications magazines for Air New Zealand’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff balancing a mix of corporate and social content. John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management. John is currently the course director of an undergraduate commercial pilot training programme at a leading London university. In addition he is contracted as an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.

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