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Icelandair 737 MAX (image: Icelandair)

Icelandair starts to expand fleet with MAX delivery

By 2021, Icelandair will have taken delivery of 16 737 MAXs, the first of which has just arrived.

Iceland’s flag carrier Icelandair can embark on a new renewal and expansion of its fleet now that it has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX.

The carrier is looking to enlarge its fleet to help it enhance its growing transatlantic operations at a time of increasing competition for flights between Europe and North America.

Besides legacy airlines seeking to maintain their grip on the profitable oceanic sector, Icelandair is facing an ever-increasing presence of low-cost carriers such as Norwegian and the budget Icelandic carrier WOW air.

Changing planes
Icelandair is a long-time operator of the Boeing 757 and has almost 30 of them in its fleet. From now until 2021, it will take delivery of 16 737 MAXs, in a mix of -8 and -9 variants, the first of which has just arrived.

These will replace some but not all of the 757s and will allow the airline to operate long-haul routes that its 757s and 767-300s cannot reach, such as San Francisco, which will launch on June 1.

This coming peak season, the carrier connects 26 airports in Europe with 23 in North America via its hub in Iceland.

“The arrival of the new aircraft represents a milestone, the start of the renewal of our fleet,” Icelandair’s president and CEO Björgólfur Jóhannsson said.

“The MAX will be an excellent addition to our fleet of Boeing 757s and 767s and increase both flexibility and capacity for the growth of our network through added frequencies and new destinations.”

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