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Icelandair History

Icelandair is the national carrier of Iceland and has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1937. Over the years, the airline has played a crucial role in connecting Iceland with the rest of the world and has become a prominent player in the aviation industry.

The roots of Icelandair can be traced back to Flugfélag Akureyrar, a small airline that operated domestic flights within Iceland. In 1937, Flugfélag Akureyrar merged with another Icelandic airline, Flugfélag Íslands, to form what is now known as Icelandair. The newly formed airline began operating international flights, initially to Europe and later expanding its reach to North America.

During its early years, Icelandair faced numerous challenges, including the impact of World War II and the eruption of the volcano Hekla in 1947, which led to a decline in tourism. However, the airline persevered and continued to grow, capitalizing on Iceland's strategic location as a transatlantic hub.

More Airline Insights & Tips

Here are a few of helpful resources & tips that can further enhance your knowledge of Icelandair airlines and how to best be prepared for your trip:

  • Delays are an unfortunate fact of the life of an air traveler. Arm yourself against surprises by knowing the flight status of your FI Icelandair flight before heading to the airport, as this could save you a lot of time, or even your trip to the airport if your flight is canceled.
  • Info can be found here on Icelandair’s company structure, headquarters, etc.
  • See which partnerships and alliances Icelandair has here. This is useful if you want to build up your frequent flyer points on partner airlines.
  • Want to know which plane types are in service? Check out FI’s fleet list here.
  • When considering a flight booking on Icelandair, be aware that third-party travel sites might require you to use their customer service instead of Icelandair's, which may be less than ideal in certain situations.

Beyond the history presented here for Icelandair, if you’re wanting more aviation history, read about the history of commercial flight here, or the history of the airline industry here.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Icelandair expanded its fleet and route network, establishing itself as a reliable carrier for both passengers and cargo. The airline played a crucial role in promoting tourism in Iceland, offering stopover options for travelers flying between Europe and North America.

In the 1980s, Icelandair faced financial difficulties due to increased competition and rising fuel prices. However, the airline implemented a successful restructuring plan and emerged stronger than ever. In the following decades, Icelandair continued to innovate and expand its services, introducing new destinations and upgrading its fleet with modern aircraft.

Today, Icelandair is recognized as a leading transatlantic carrier, offering flights to over 40 destinations in Europe and North America. The airline's hub at Keflavík International Airport serves as a convenient stopover point for travelers, allowing them to explore Iceland's unique landscapes and attractions.

For more information about this airline, check out our comprehensive Icelandair Guide.

Find more help here for your journey through the airport