Interest boosted by the route development fund financial incentives
A year after Isavia Regional Airports revived its campaign to attract and support aircraft utilising the regional airports of Akureyri (AEY) in the north, and Egilsstaðir (EGS) in East Iceland, the authority has reported increased utilization of the airports. The campaign, which was paused during the pandemic, offers a range of grants, subsidies and discounts, to aircraft operators using the well-equipped, regional airports.
- International Aircraft movements in AEY were up 30 % for the first ten months of 2022,
- The number of international passengers in 2022 was up by more than 11,000 passengers over 2019
Airlines attracted to Akureyri Airport include newly launched Icelandic airline NiceAir with its Copenhagen and Tenerife services, with Dusseldorf and Alicante to launch spring 2023. London Stansted and Manchester flights are in preparation for 2023. In addition, German airline Condor will introduce Akureyri and Egilsstadir flights in 2023, with several other airlines in advanced negotiation.
Iceland is an exciting destination with beautiful, calm, clean and unspoiled scenery, and natural phenomena; tourism has grown steadily since 2010 with an increase in flight routes to meet the demand. These flights have mostly entered Iceland via Keflavik International Airport, near the capital Reykjavik, but as visitors look to explore the country further other entry points are a consideration. The north and east of Iceland already have a great tourism infrastructure in place, with a wide choice of hotels and outdoor activities and facilities.
The Isavia scheme to attract airlines, to either or both regional airports, gives a subsidy of 18€ per arriving passenger, paid to operators with a minimum of six flights, which combined with the airport discount incentives can total 25€ per passenger.
In addition, there is a market development fund support of at least €60,000 awarded to the operator, with the amount matched by the operator.
For three years from the commencement of service the operator receives,
Year 1: 100% discount on landing and passenger charges
Year 2: 90% discount on landing and passenger charges
Year 3: 75% discount on landing and passenger charges
Known as the ‘capital of the North Iceland’ Akureyri Airport has a 2,400m long, 45m wide runway and is currently nearing completion on building works to expand the terminal. The airport is ATC controlled and has LOC, ILS and GPS approaches to the highest standard.
Egilsstaðir Airport in East Iceland has a 2000m x 45m runway for takeoff and 1850m for landing. The airport is AFIS controlled and has ILS, RNAV and NDB approaches to the highest standards.
Both airports can accommodate aircraft such as Airbus 320, Boeing 757 and 737 easily and both have private, VIP jet facilities.
Isavia Regonal Airports’ CEO Sigrún Björk Jakobsdóttir said: “We are very pleased with the increased aircraft utilising Akureyri and Egilsstaðir airports. Operators can take advantage of the generous grants, discounts and subsidies offered to aircraft landing at the regional airports in the north and east of Iceland, which we hope will attract even more business. Our objective with the route development fund was for airlines and tour operators to recognize the attractions of the North and East of Iceland and to fly direct to the regions.
“We want tour operators to create holiday itineraries in these regions and we’d also like to see flights available for independent and business travellers and also for the residents of the area – the alternative is domestic flights from the capital, or an eight-hour drive from Reykjavik airport.”
The Icelandic Route Development Fund can grant up to €1.5 million each year. The fund is open for applications.
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