Icelandair drops Halifax, adjusts other schedules

An Icelandair 757 lands at Vancouver International Airport (photo: Brett Ballah).

Icelandair has dropped Halifax, Nova Scotia from this summer’s route network, amidst the ongoing 737 Max grounding. The airline also said it is responding to demand in other markets for flights to Europe.

Halifax was to have been served by Icelandair’s 737 Max, though the grounding was not the only reason behind the decision. The company said in a release the change happened “because of a decision to focus on meeting increased demand for flights to and from Iceland by moving supply from destinations that focus on travel between North America and Europe via Iceland.”

This summer, Icelandair plans to serve Canada 29 times a week this summer, all aboard 757 aircraft, including:

Cleveland, Ohio was also dropped from Icelandair’s route network.

It’s the second blow to Halifax in the wake of the grounding of the 737 Max, after Air Canada was forced to drop non-stop service to London-Heathrow from the city. The type was grounded after a pair of fatal crashes less than five months apart. It has been working to distribute a new computer program to control the aircraft, and restore public trust in the plane.

The news came as Tourism Nova Scotia reported new data showing the number of tourists arriving in Nova Scotia by air increased four per cent in 2018 to 820,000, even as the number of travellers arriving in the province by car dropped three per cent.

In Canada, three airlines, Westjet, Air Canada, and Sunwing have had to adjust their schedules in response to the grounding of 41 aircraft. There is no indication when the 737 Max will be allowed to fly again.

At the same time, Icelandair has also decided to add low-cost flying to its network, taking up some of the slack in the wake of the Wow Air collapse in March. The company will add some all-economy aircraft serving leisure routes such as Alicante and Tenerife, starting next year.