PLAY Airlines pursues a fleet mix of A320 and A321 aircraft

PLAY airlines, a new Icelandic low-cost airline, plans to pursue a fleet mix of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft to mix up capacity as and when needed. The airline had inaugurated its maiden commercial flight from Keflavik Airport to London Stansted Airport in June this year with A321 neo aircraft.

In September, Icelandic start-up PLAY signed an agreement to add four additional Airbus A320 neo family aircraft (3 A320neo and one A321NX narrowbody) from GECAS, a leading international lessor. On November 18, the airline recently reached an agreement to receive two new A320 neo aircraft from China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (CALC), scheduled to arrive in Iceland in March 2022. 

PLAY A321; Photo from PLAY

The fleet mix of Airbus A320 and A321neo allows the airline to balance the quantity or load into different destinations in the US and Europe. The airline CEO Birgir Jonsson stated that the airline is linking a few US destinations with high frequency to more extensive ranges of European destinations. Furthermore, as the Icelandic newcomer PLAY is set to kick off a transatlantic network connecting passengers between the US and Europe, the combination of A320neos and A321neos via destinations, link-feeding destinations, is a significant balancing act for utilizing the network to create the right mix of quantity.

Also Read: Business Plan of Play Airlines

Gradual fleet expansion

PLAY seeks to gradually bolster a number of aircraft, with up to 15 aircraft sporting the PLAY logo by 2025. Jonsson further said that the airline will possess six aircraft next spring, up to 10 in 2023, and 15 aircraft in the fleet by 2025. The brand new aircraft is set to be delivered directly from Airbus fitted and configured as PLAY’s specifications.

Currently, PLAY has 3 A321neo aircraft providing connections to more than 10 locations across Europe with additional three aircraft ready to join the fleet that doesn’t provide economies of scale. Move from 15 aircraft onwards is needed to achieve economies of scale. So, as per the CEO, PLAY has proposed investors focus on getting 15 aircraft to be a dynamic, smaller kind of flexible player while getting profit and building on infrastructures.

Preferring A320neo family aircraft

A320neo family aircraft are adorned due to financial and operational reasons. In addition to using the pandemic to get better deals, the newcomer PLAY is able to secure long-term terms on these aircraft. Similarly, the unique geographical location of Iceland for transatlantic travel makes these high-tech narrowbodies offer more incredible connections within North America.

These fuel-efficient aircraft are eco-friendly, perfect for PLAY’s operations as they support the environmental and ethical objectives of the airline as it looks forward to opportunities ahead. These neos will join a broad network of Play routes to meet future travel demand, resulting in long-term cost savings and operational efficiency. Airbus A320 family aircraft has flexibility in size and range and consumes less fuel to operate flights on both sides of the Atlantic. Both A320neo and A321neo have aircraft commonality that gives a competitive advantage to the airline over rivals. PLAY Airlines doesn’t have current plans to compete with major carriers but rather meet short-term goals of profitability and stability.

Summer schedule 2022 of PLAY

PLAY will operate flights to 23 European destinations next year. Not long ago, the start-up announced the addition of Dublin in Ireland, Madrid in Spain, and Brussels in Belgium for its 2022 summer schedule to open a direct route to Iceland for regions and strengthen PLAY’s operations.  Lisbon, Bologna, Stuttgart, and Prague are also listed in PLAY’s summer schedule. The airline has also added the Dutch capital of Amsterdam to offer flights to/from Schiphol airport for the winter schedule.

The potential US routes that Iceland’s PLAY is eyeing are somewhere on East Coast. As the carrier has the transatlantic ambition of conquering the incredibly lucrative market, necessary negotiations are on the way for slots and permits. PLAY’s CEO is also looking forward to bringing Icelandic hospitality to Canada a few times later after launching US operations.

PLAY has already applied for a foreign air carrier permit to carry passengers from Iceland and across Europe to US destinations. Eventually, the airline can publish connecting transatlantic itineraries through its base in Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport.

About PLAY Airlines

PLAY is a new Icelandic budget carrier that operated its first flight at the end of June 2021. Based in Keflavik airport, the airline operates three new Airbus A321neo aircraft to fly to an extensive network of more than ten destinations across Europe such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, etc.

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