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Jan 8, 2024

1.5 million passengers in 2023 and world-class on-time performance

PLAY aircraft flying above black sands and a glacier river

PLAY airlines carried 114,265 passengers in December 2023, which is a 53% increase from December 2022 when PLAY carried 74,620 passengers. PLAY had a load factor of 76.2% in December 2023 and of all passengers traveling with PLAY, 24.5% were flying from Iceland, 28% were flying to Iceland and 47.6% were VIA passengers.

Air-traffic controllers in Iceland had a series of strikes in the month of December which affected PLAY´s on-time performance. The on-time performance in December was 59% but PLAY´s on-time performance for the year of 2023 was 83%.

This on-time performance percentage means that out of 9,600 flights for the whole year of 2023, over 8,000 flights were on time, and the average delay on these flights was 5.4 minutes.

When corrected for the air traffic controllers strike, the on-time performance for the year of 2023 would have been around 86%.

Ancillary revenue rising and forward bookings looking strong

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.

Average ancillary revenue per passenger continues to increase. It was 29% higher in December 2023 compared to December 2022.

Despite reporting that the seismic activity in the Reykjanes peninsula would have a negative effect on the load factor of December 2023 and January and February 2024, the demand has had a robust pick up in the past few weeks and sales from the beginning of January 2024 have been very promising for the spring and summer of 2024.

Birgir Jonsson CEO:

“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. “