Posted by: neilh10 | August 25, 2011

Icelands domestic flight network. Signs of a welcome rethink.

Back in March, I posted an article moaning about what I see as the absurd and ridiculous situation with the domestic flight network in Iceland. To recap:

The domestic flight times and network within Iceland is run in total and absolute ignorance of the need to make any kind of international connection. They are different airlines, and they even use different airports! There is no through ticketing – If either flight is delayed – then tough!

Anyway, today it seems that the situation is changing somewhat. I’d like to believe it was because of my article, but I doubt very much that is the case. Iceland Review are reporting that, for the summer (June 7 – September 30) season next year, Icelandair will be offering four connecting flights between Keflavik and Akureyri. To quote the relevant part of the article in full:

Icelandair will offer flights to Akureyri in north Iceland from Keflavík International Airport up to four times a week and connecting flights to the airline’s various destinations in Europe and the US next summer, from June 7 to September 30.

With the move, Icelandair is hoping to strengthen the tourist industry in north Iceland and at the same time, increase the convenience for locals, a statement from the airline reads in Morgunbladid.

The destination can be booked as part of Icelandair’s flights to and from Iceland and so Akureyri will open up in booking systems all around the world. The airline will rent a Fokker 50 aircraft from Air Iceland for the Akureyri flights.

Mayor of Akureyri Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson said he welcomes this addition to the local tourist industry but stresses that the addition will not reduce the importance of Reykjavík Airport for domestic and emergency flights.

So now, for four months only in 2012, you will be able to book a flight direct from London to Akureyri. Great news, but surely you should be able to book flights from London to Akureyri all year round – in the same way that I can buy a ticket from London to virtually any other airport in the world?

Anyway. If they can do it for Akureyri, a town of 17,000 inhabitants, hopefully they will consider doing the same thing for the Westfjords (population ca 6000) at some point in the future. Or, they could take the more straightforward step of simply making the international and domestic flights connect (even if it involves a transfer between the two airports – its only 40 minutes and its a pretty predictable route. not much traffic etc). And, most crucially, through ticketing.

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