Icelandic low-cost airline PLAY has reported on its hot Summer season, including an 89% load factor in August, with 185,000 passengers carried and two new aircraft confirmed to make room for more. While expecting some challenges in autumn and winter, PLAY maintains plans for growth in the transatlantic market.
Fleet Expansion: Welcoming the A320neos
PLAY’s recently acquired two A320neo aircraft, set to join their fleet by summer 2025, speaks volumes of their ambitions. Further negotiations on aircraft purchases are in the pipeline to boost their capacity for 2024 and 2025.
PLAY’s August in Brief: Impressive Load Factors and Financial Performance
August has seen PLAY record an impressive 89% load factor. For comparison, IATA recently reported a historic high load factor in July for global airlines at 85.7%. The average load factor for European airlines in July was 87.7%. A high passenger load factor in the airline industry means more passengers onboard each flight, improving the sustainability of that flight for everyone onboard.
Besides fuller planes, PLAY also reported 90% on-time flight performance.
The airline’s financials have largely met management expectations, showing positive operating margins for 2023. Furthermore, their Q3 operational profit has notably been robust, marking an upward trajectory compared to Q2 2023 and the corresponding period 2022.
Navigating Market Challenges
While the future looks bright, PLAY is not without its challenges. The escalating oil prices, which have surged by a significant 25%, combined with inflationary pressures, may cast a shadow on the airline’s financial outlook for the year. Even so, the financial turnaround from the previous year is anticipated to be noteworthy, ensuring a strong cash position as the year closes.
A Word from the CEO
Birgir Jonsson, CEO of PLAY, shares his optimism and pride in the team’s achievements:
“August was an excellent operational month for PLAY,” Jonsson said. “We are getting close to the end of the summer season, but it is already clear that we can be very proud of our operational performance so far this year. We continue to see many opportunities for future growth and we have therefore begun planning our growth for the coming years…It is good that we are still seeing higher yields than last year and a significantly higher load factor going into the more challenging winter months, and the demand going forward looks relatively robust in most markets. We will continue to focus on keeping our cost base as low as possible and being flexible in our network to adapt to this dynamic environment. Our great team of people continues to do an exceptional job. It was fantastic to see the PLAY Crew nominated among some of the biggest airlines in the world as the best cabin crew by USA Today. At the time of writing our crew was leading the poll as voted for by the readers of this major US newspaper. A stunning achievement for a team that has only been flying for just over two years for a small startup airline!”
PLAY was also nominated for the best low-cost carrier category in the Danish Travel Awards, which will be awarded in October of this year.