🇮🇸 Fly: 89% Load Factor, 185,000 passengers and two new aircraft confirmed

September 7, 2023

Press release from Play

PLAY carried 184,926 passengers in August, which is a 70% increase from August 2022 when PLAY carried 108,622 passengers. The load factor in August 2023 was 88.9%, compared to 86.9% load factor in August 2022, and PLAY had an on-time performance of 90.1%.

Of all passengers flying with PLAY in August 2023, 22.1% were departing from Iceland, 35% were traveling to Iceland, and 42.9% were connecting passengers (VIA).

August saw strong performance in our network with many destinations delivering over 90% load factor and some, including Prague, Toronto and Barcelona, performing at over 95% load factor.

Average ancillary revenue continues to rise for PLAY, being 33% higher in August 2023 compared to August 2022, and the trend is looking robust for the coming months.

PLAY nominated as Best Cabin Crew

PLAY has been nominated for Best Cabin Crew by USA Today. This is a great honor for PLAY, only two years from its first ever commercial flight in June 2021.  Among the nominees are major global airlines. This nomination is a testament to the great work the cabin crew does every day providing PLAY´s passengers with excellent service and a secure and enjoyable flight. PLAY has also been nominated for the Danish Travel Awards as the best low-cost carrier. The Danish Travel Awards have been awarded since 1996 and PLAY is again nominated among many major and well-established low-cost airlines.

Fleet Expansion and Outlook

PLAY continues to see many opportunities to grow in the market and is working on expanding its fleet of aircraft in the coming years. The airline has already signed two Letters of Intent, securing two brand-new A320neos, which will enter service in time for the summer season of 2025. Further negotiations are ongoing for added capacity in 2024 and 2025 and will be reported on when they are concluded.

PLAY is in a strong position when entering the fall and winter with a considerably higher load factor and higher yields than in the previous year. The demand from key markets is quite robust, but the airline is cautious about the possible impact of inflation and the increased cost of living on the demand in the winter months. This means that the visibility into the fourth quarter and further into the winter is relatively low, as many other airlines worldwide are reporting.

As PLAY has previously stated, the financial performance this year has largely been in line with management expectations and forecasts that have assumed a narrow but positive operating margin (EBIT) for the full year of 2023.

The operational profit (EBIT) for the third quarter has so far been strong, and the airline is experiencing a much stronger financial performance compared to the same quarter last year or, indeed, the previous quarter this year.

Since the second quarter, the price of oil, being the single largest cost item, has risen very considerably or by about 25%.  One of the key assumptions in the previously published financial guidance was that oil prices would remain stable until year-end. It is now clear that this very significant price increase, together with general price increases due to inflation, is likely to have a negative impact on the financial results this year. PLAY can, therefore, no longer assume that it will deliver a positive operational result (EBIT) as previously stated. It is, however, clear that the financial turnaround from last year will be very significant and the cash position of the airline will be healthy at year-end.

Birgir Jonsson CEO:

“August was an excellent operational month for PLAY with an impressive 89% load factor and a world-class 90% on-time performance. We are getting close to the end of the summer season, but it is already clear that we can be very proud of our operational performance so far this year. We continue to see many opportunities for future growth and we have therefore begun planning our growth for the coming years. We have now confirmed two brand-new A320neo aircraft, which will join our fleet in 2025, as well as being in negotiations for further capacity increases in the near future. It is good that we are still seeing higher yields than last year and a significantly higher load factor going into the more challenging winter months, and the demand going forward looks relatively robust in most markets. We will continue to focus on keeping our cost base as low as possible and being flexible in our network to adapt to this dynamic environment. Our great team of people continues to do an exceptional job, and it was fantastic to see the PLAY Crew nominated among some of the biggest airlines in the world as the best cabin crew by USA Today. At the time of writing our crew was leading the poll as voted for by the readers of this major US newspaper. A stunning achievement for a team that has only been flying for just over two years for a small startup airline!”

Traffic Reports

Originally published on 7 September.