The Icelandic government will pay down part of Icelandair’s losses so the airline can continue to operate minimal flights to Europe and the US in the coming weeks, RÚV reports. The airline will receive up to ISK 100 million ($710,000/€644,000) from the government to support their operations, which have slowed to a trickle in the wake of border closures aimed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a meeting on Friday, the Icelandic government decided to enter into a contract with Icelandair to ensure the airline could continue operating flights to Boston and London or Stockholm two days a week. The contract was signed on Friday and has taken effect.
“These are at least six trips to each destination over the next three weeks while these closures around us have been [scheduled to stand],” Minister of Transport Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson stated, adding that the agreement may be extended if necessary. According ot the Minister, the government will pay Icelandair at least ISK 70 million ($498,000/€451,000) and a maximum of ISK 100 million ($710,000/€644,000) during this period, “then we have to take stock again if this continues.”
CEO of Icelandair Bogi Nils Bogason says that the company will faces losses in the coming weeks, even with the government contribution. “We just think it’s important that the airline keeps these connections going. It’s important to get the state involved, even if only partially,” he stated. The exact amount of the government contribution will be calculated retroactively, taking into account the number of passengers and revenue of each flight.