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

Airplane from Niceair

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.

First Niceair Jet Arrives in Akureyri

Airplane from Niceair

Niceair’s first passenger aircraft, an Airbus A-319, just landed in Akureyri, North Iceland, in preparation for the airline’s maiden voyage this Thursday, June 2. The aircraft has arrived from Lisbon, Portugal, where it was painted in the new airline’s design.

The airline’s maiden voyage – to Copenhagen – is sold out. CEO of Niceair Þorvaldur Lúðvík Sigurjónsson told Vísir the company’s first scheduled flights have sold better than expected.

To start with, Niceair will offer flights between Akureyri, North Iceland, and London, Copenhagen, Manchester, and Tenerife. It will be the only airline offering international flights from North Iceland and for the time being, will operate a single aircraft. The company’s goal is to secure scheduled flights year-round to foreign destinations from Akureyri Airport. Regular international flights would both improve the quality of life for residents in the area and improve the access of foreign tourists to North Iceland.

Readers can view the aircraft’s journey at this link.

Niceair to Offer International Flights from Akureyri in June

Airplane from Niceair

A new Icelandic airline based in Akureyri is set to begin operations in June. Niceair will offer flights from Akureyri Airport to three destinations: the UK, Denmark, and Spain.

A growing market

Niceair – a new airline startup based in Akureyri, North Iceland – has announced that it will embark on its maiden voyage on June 2, Vísir reports. The news comes just over six months since Play Air’s inaugural flight

As noted in a press release authored by CEO Þorvaldur Lúðvík Sigurjónsson, Niceair was established in response to a growing local market in Northern Iceland – and following two years of negotiations between local and foreign parties.

The airline has secured possession of a 150-seater Airbus A319 aircraft, suited to passenger and cargo operations, and will initially operate under the air license of an unnamed European carrier. Niceair hopes to create approximately twenty jobs with a crew comprised of Icelandic and foreign staff. Wages will reflect the standards of the Icelandic labour market.

“The company’s goal is to secure scheduled flights year-round to foreign destinations from Akureyri Airport. That will simultaneously improve the quality of life for residents in the area, improve the access of foreign tourists to North Iceland, and last but not least, greatly improve the competitiveness of companies in the area,” the press release reads.

Public offering around the corner

Among Niceair shareholders are numerous companies from North Iceland, including KEA, Höldur, Kaldbakur, Norlandair, Armar, Akureyri Travel, Kaldi, and more. No single company owns over 8% of Niceair.

“In the coming weeks, the public at large and other companies will be offered the chance of investing in Niceair,” CEO Þorvaldur Lúðvík stated in the aforementioned press release.

The airline’s destinations will be formally introduced over the coming weeks and ticket sales will be offered on Niceair’s website.