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Airplane from Niceair
Photo: Screenshot from RÚV.

Niceair Cancels All UK Flights in June: “Brexit-Related Problems”

Niceair has cancelled all scheduled flights from Akureyri to the UK in June. The airline has experienced a few so-called “Brexit-related complications” as far as their Iceland-bound passengers are concerned, Vísir reports.

Brexit-related obstacles

Niceair embarked on its maiden flight from Iceland to the UK last week. The plane returned to Iceland empty, however, and travellers who had booked tickets back to Akureyri were forced to fly back with other airlines.

A press release from Niceair today announced that all scheduled flights from Akureyri to the UK in June had been cancelled, Vísir reports. Niceair operates aeroplanes from the Maltese charter airline HiFly, which British authorities maintain lacks the necessary permits to fly to and from the UK.

“They are, nevertheless, listed as certified flight operators by British authorities,” the press release reads. “Furthermore, the authorities stipulated that Niceair, an Icelandic company, secure a British travel-agency licence for the sale of travel packages (flights, hotels, rental cars), which lies beyond the operational purview of Niceair. Nowhere were these conditions mentioned during our three-month application process.”

“As far as we can gather,” the press release continues, “the problem, among other things, is that Iceland has a bilateral agreement with the UK on flight operations, and the UK has a similar agreement with the EU. These two agreements overlap in the UK. The problem arises once you begin transporting passengers from the UK to Iceland with a flight operator that has legal domicile in the EU (and not in Iceland or in the UK).” The press release also notes that it “appears likely” that the British authorities are worried about consumer protection; after Brexit, the UK authorities ceased automatic approval of European consumer legislation.

Unlikely that a solution will be found before the weekend

Despite Niceair working to resolve the matter, it is unlikely that a solution will be found before the weekend.

“We’ve worked non-stop to find a solution and have proposed numerous solutions to the British authorities,” the press release reads. “We’ve been aided by the Icelandic Transport Authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the British Embassy in Iceland – but no solution has been found. The weekend is fast approaching, and it sounds like a solution is unlikely before that time, owing to a lack of personnel and time.”

Travellers will be unable to book flights to the UK until a permanent solution is found. All passengers who had booked flights to the UK with the airline will be offered a refund. Niceair will also assist those looking to find alternative flights to or from the UK.

Mbl.is reported this afternoon that about 70 passengers who had flights booked to London with Niceair were waiting at the Akureyri airport. Their flight had been scheduled for yesterday evening but had been pushed back to noon today.

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