In 2018 there has been a boom in US travellers heading to Iceland as a gateway to Europe.
Against the top European hub airports, Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport saw off all its rivals in terms of growth in American visitors transferring to Europe last year – arrivals from the high-spending US market soared by 30.9%.
However, ForwardKeys predicts that the impressive growth in Keflavik’s American passenger numbers will stall in the first half of this year, largely due to WOW Air, the Icelandic low-cost carrier, reducing its US routes. Total scheduled seats for international flights from Iceland, January to June this year, are down 4.1%. Capacity to the US (which makes up 25% of Keflavik’s international traffic) has dropped by 19.4%, as WOW Air, with 28% of that, is providing 47% fewer seats to the US. By comparison, traffic to other destinations looks set to increase slightly, as overall capacity to all other international destinations will increase by 2.3%.
Olivier Ponti, VP Insights at ForwardKeys, said: “There’s no question that the changing profile of travellers going through Reykjavik’s international airport will have implications for the sellers of branded goods and duty-free merchandise there. For example, clothing retailers will probably need to rethink stock levels and in particular the number of garments in each size.”