PLAY, the Icelandic low-cost carrier, reports that 1.5 million passengers flew with the airline in 2023. It also reported exceptional on-time performance for its flights.
In December 2023, PLAY airlines experienced a 53% increase in passengers compared to the same period in 2022, with 114,265 passengers flown. The airline served 74,620 passengers in December of 2022.
The airline also reported a 76.2% load factor in December 2023, with 24.5% of passengers originating from Iceland, 28% bound for Iceland, and 47.6% traveling via the country.
PLAY carried 1.5 million passengers in 2023 and had a load factor of 83.4%. Of passengers flying with PLAY in 2023, 26.7% were flying from Iceland, 32.3% were flying to Iceland, and 41% were VIA passengers.
Despite challenges posed by air traffic controller strikes in Iceland during December, PLAY maintained an overall on-time performance of 83% for the year. That is equivalent to over 8,000 out of 9,600 flights being punctual. The average delay was 5.4 minutes. Factoring out the impact of the strikes, the on-time performance for 2023 would have been closer to 86%.
PLAY Ancillary Revenue Increases And Forward Bookings Look Strong
The average ancillary revenue per passenger has shown a promising increase, soaring by 29% in December 2023 compared to December 2022. While initial reports suggested that seismic activity in the Reykjanes peninsula might impact the load factor for December 2023, January, and February 2024, recent weeks have seen a strong resurgence in demand. Furthermore, sales figures from the start of January 2024 point to a very encouraging outlook for the upcoming spring and summer of 2024.
PLAY CEO Birgir Jonsson Comments On Performance
“We are very proud to have achieved our goal of flying over 1.5 million passengers in 2023, nearly doubling the number from the previous year. Our load factor was a satisfactory 83%, especially considering a very challenging situation towards the end of the year. We achieved an exemplary on-time performance of 83% for the year. This high punctuality is among the best compared to our competitors and among the highest in the world of aviation. It is a strong sign of our safe and efficient flight operations and the professionalism of our operational teams and crews.
“In the month of December, we saw a load factor of 76.2%, slightly lower than in the same month of the previous year. This reduction is a direct result of the seismic activity, earthquakes, and volcanic eruption that had an impact on the demand for Iceland as a destination and caused a temporary closure of the Blue Lagoon, one of the major tourist attractions in Iceland. In addition to all this, flight operations and the flow of tourists to Iceland were severely disrupted by the strike of local air traffic controllers in the run-up to Christmas, which was targeted against the local airlines and the very important tourism industry in Iceland.”
“Although the traffic numbers of November, December, and January have been negatively affected by all this, we have recently been experiencing very strong demand returning to the market and have no reason to believe this situation will have any long-term impact or damage. We are now in the most important booking period for the spring and summer travel period, and it is good to see that our network of destinations is delivering a strong booking flow and giving us all at PLAY a reason to be optimistic for the coming year.
“I sincerely thank all our passengers for choosing to fly with PLAY in the year 2023, it was a real pleasure having you all on board our shiny red aircraft. I also want to thank our great team of Players for their hard work and dedication and for achieving these great operating results. I am sure that together, we will reach even greater heights in our operation in the coming year. “