CEO: “If you look at flights from India to North America, they actually go directly above Iceland.”
Following a period of speculation, Iceland’s transatlantic low-cost carrier Wow air has started selling tickets for the very first no-frills flights between India and North America.
The new option for westward travel is bound to find an audience among the millions of Indians who fly to the US and Europe every year.
Tickets for flights from India to the US via Wow’s Reykjavik hub, to start on December 7, are priced at $199, which the news agency Bloomberg among others describes as “ultra-cheap”.
However, these basic fares will rise for most, considering that all luggage bigger than a laptop-sized bag are charged additionally, except for some premium-class seats.
But the fares offered on Wow Air’s Airbus SE A330neo aircraft are half of what full-service carriers like Emirates charge, the Icelandic airline’s chief executive Skuli Mogensen insists in an interview to Bloomberg.
“If you look at flights from India to North America, they actually go directly above Iceland,” he says. “So Iceland is the perfect hub for India to North America traffic. It has a superior connecting time than what people currently use – London, Dubai, Frankfurt or Amsterdam.”
Next big thing
What Wow Air is offering is a 10.5-hour leg between New Delhi and Reykjavik, a stopover, and then connections to 14 cities in North America such as New York, Boston, San Francisco and Toronto.
Bloomberg writes that the “once ridiculed” idea of flying passengers across continents and oceans at a low cost is “fast emerging as the next big thing in aviation”.
Norwegian has already disrupted the market by “transforming itself from flying winter-weary Scandinavians to southern Europe to a global behemoth connecting Oslo to New York and Stockholm to Bangkok”, it adds.
With India due to overtake the UK to be the world’s third-biggest aviation market by 2025, Wow air’s decision appears to be a smart move – pushing into a market dominated by Middle Eastern carriers while pre-empting similar moves by other European or Indian LCCs.