British Travel Agency Super Break has become the first company to offer direct international flights to Akureyri, North Iceland, from the UK, RÚV reports. Around 2400 British travellers are expected on the route in the next two months.
The first flight on the new route landed in Akureyri on January 12th, carrying 185 passengers from Cardiff, Wales. The travellers were greeted by a trio singing Icelandic-inspired songs as they boarded the flight, and the landing was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Seats on the scheduled flights are 95 percent sold, exceeding the agency’s goal of 75 percent. “It quickly became evident it would take off so we decided to increase the number of flights from more British airports,” stated Chris Hagan, project manager at Super Break.
Twenty-two trips have been scheduled for next winter but will likely increase to 36. Around 100 Icelanders took the first plane back to Britain, and Hagan says although the main goal is to bring tourists to Iceland, the company hopes locals can also take advantage of the flights. “We have committed ourselves to work with tourism partners here in Akureyri to develop trips and packages for Icelanders,” he stated.
Many Icelanders have long been hoping for direct international flights to Akureyri. Minister of Tourism Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir told RÚV it was a pleasure to see the local effort behind making the flights a reality. “I think this is a very big milestone for Icelandic tourism, for this area and in general for the rural community and distribution [of tourists],” she stated.
CEO of Visit North Iceland Arneiður Jóhannsdóttir was happy to see a long-term goal become a reality. “This success is the result of the collaboration between tourism companies and municipalities in North Iceland, who have had the unfaltering belief that North Iceland is a destination that is both desirable and exciting,” she stated.