aviation industry, Load factor balance, Reykjavik's Keflavik International Airport

PLAY Load Factor Graph Skyrockets As It Approaches Expansion

As the COVID outbreak fades, the airline industry begins to recover. Throughout the covid times, airlines struggled to maintain their Load factor balance. However, things are changing. And PLAY, despite being new to the industry, has been shining brightly in terms of the load factor, with an increase of over 6% points in September.

Furthermore, as the covid influence on Iceland fades, the airline is gaining prominence in the Iceland-European market. There is a greater demand for travel currently, and ticket sales have grown as well. 

About PLAY

PLAY is a new LCC that began operations in June 2021 at Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport. Yet, PLAY has done admirably for an airline with less than four months of experience. The load factor metre is rising, and the airline is seeking more employees and routes as part of its expansion.

PLAY currently serves passengers to sixteen destinations around Europe, with a fleet of three Airbus A321neo flights. PLAY, formerly known as WAB air, was created in July 2019 by Arnar Már Magnsson and Sveinn Ingi Steinórsson, both former WOW air executives. The airline announced the registration of its AOC on May 2021. 

Its first aircraft, an Airbus A321neo originally flown by the bankrupt Mexican airline Interjet, began operations on June 24, 2021, with a trip from Keflavik International Airport to London Stansted Airport.

Load Factor of 67.7%

PLAY began operations in mid-June and maintained a steady pace throughout the rest of July. In July, it transported approximately 10,000 passengers with a load factor of 41.7%. Though there was a little dip in the load factor from August to September because of an increase of Covid cases in Iceland, this is typical of most airlines’ first operations.

In August, the load factor was 46.4%, with 17300 benefiting travellers. In September, it carried 15,223 passengers with a load factor of 52.1%. The airline maintained the graph with a continuous climb, indicating an increase in demand both to and from Iceland. With a load factor of 67.7%, October was also a pleasant month for PLAY. PLAY transported about 25,000 people in October and plans to maintain that tempo in the following months.

PLAY’s CEO, Birgir Jónsson, commented on the findings, explaining that they had extremely cautious preparation owing to the pandemic and were anticipating travel restrictions to ease. He stated optimistically that signs of recovery and eased travel restrictions were also the cause of the improvement in PLAY load factor, and that he anticipates extremely favourable demand patterns in the future for flourishing coming years.

PLAY & Expansion

PLAY is looking forward to a successful expansion of its crew and routes, but it is taking things one step at a time, cautiously and methodically. PLAY expanded its workforce with the addition of 63 additional staff, including 41 cabin crew members, 12 flight crew members, and 10 office employees. PLAY presently employs 135 people.

In terms of route Expansion, a new route from Keflavik to Amsterdam in the Netherlands will begin operations on December 3rd. The service will be offered twice a week at first, growing to four times a week by mid-December.

But it won’t end with Amsterdam; PLAY plans to create additional new routes in the future. However, the actual routes have yet to be announced. It would be focusing on the extra European services that it would be announcing soon. It does, however, limit the number of passengers it accommodates.

The airline is slated to commence connecting trips to the United States in early 2022. In principle, the airline’s load factors should increase as the flights become more relevant to a new group of passengers. 

Future Plans

The airline announced intentions to add 100 new cabin crew members, as well as 50 A320 family pilots, thus doubling the business’s workforce. PLAY intends to establish a new office in Vilnius, Lithuania. However, the headquarters and present flying operations, as well as all flight and cabin staff, will stay in Iceland. Though it is too early at this stage, it will only be expanding partially in this facility, which will house different support and technical services with roughly 15-20 personnel. The hiring process is now underway, with the local General Manager already placed.


PLAY is expanding internationally, covering continental Europe, North America, and Iceland. PLAY competes in the international market with airlines that are LCCs and access specialized capabilities. As a result, PLAY needs to be able to compete on an equal footing. PLAY must have a low-cost strategy and a lean corporate structure in order, to offer cheap costs. The establishment of the Vilnius office is a crucial step toward establishing a low-cost foundation with entry into the transatlantic market. Let us look forward to seeing all the future development of PLAY’s market and expansion.

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