Icelandair extends schedule, is first airline to offer year-round service from Cleveland to Europe

July 31, 2018

Icelandair extends schedule, is first airline to offer year-round service from Cleveland to Europe

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Icelandair is poised to become the first airline to operate year-round transatlantic service from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The airline, which began flying from Cleveland to Reykjavik in May, recently extended its schedule through July 2019, with service from Hopkins through the winter months.

According to the airport, no airline has previously offered winter service to Europe from Cleveland.

Meanwhile, Wow Air – the other Iceland-based airline that started flying from Cleveland in May – will discontinue service at the end of October. A spokeswoman for the airport said she did not know when Wow flights would resume.

A customer service operator with Wow said the airline’s spring schedule has not yet been loaded into the airline’s reservation system. Flights are typically loaded three months ahead, he said.

Todd Payne, chief of marketing and air service development at Hopkins, said both airlines appear to be pleased with their performance in Cleveland. Both carriers are reporting load factors – the percentage of seats on a flight that are full – in the high 80s and low 90s from Cleveland, according to the airport.

Icelandair and Wow, Iceland’s only two airlines, surprised both airport officials and industry insiders last summer when the competing carriers made back-to-back announcements to start flying from Cleveland in 2018.

Neither airline specified, back in August 2017, whether its service would be seasonal or year-round. Both, presumably, wanted to see how ticket sales would go.

Icelandair offers flights to Reykjavik from Cleveland five days per week; Wow’s service is four days per week. Both airlines offer numerous connections to other cities in Europe.

Prior to this year, Cleveland hadn’t had nonstop air service to Europe since 2009, when Continental Airlines discontinued its seasonal flight to London. For a time, Continental also offered flights to Paris. Neither route was year-round, however.

Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson called Icelandair’s decision to fly year-round from Hopkins “a clear indicator of the growing interest in Cleveland as an international business and tourist destination.”

The airport reports that international passengers have increased 12.5 percent for the first six months of 2018, over the same period a year before. In June, the first full month of service to Reykjavik, international passengers were up 61.9 percent over June 2017, according to the airport.

Related: How Cleveland Hopkins scored to routes to Iceland in one week

Icelandair vs. Wow Air: Plain Dealer travel editor compares Cleveland’s new Iceland connections