Velkomin til Pittsburgh, Icelandair.
At a press conference this morning, the Allegheny County Airport Authority welcomed the flag carrier of Iceland to Pittsburgh, joined by Icelandair executives who announced they’re launching nonstop service to Reykjavík, Iceland, beginning in May 2024.
The flight will be Pittsburgh International Airport’s second nonstop flight to Europe, following British Airways’ service to London Heathrow. With the two routes, Pittsburgh will be connected to the other side of the Atlantic every day of the week from May through October.
“We’re just delighted to have a major carrier that’s been very successful in Europe for many, many years join us now in Pittsburgh,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “None of this happens without people working together and the collaboration of the airport—CEO Christina Cassotis and her team—the airport authority board members, our business community, VisitPittsburgh, the airport chamber and so many other partners that make this all possible and work with us to make these flights successful.”
Fitzgerald, ACAA leadership and valued government and business partners gathered on the Ticketing level at Pittsburgh International Airport as part of the airline’s announcement, underscoring the importance of the new route—and airline—to the Western Pennsylvania market.
Icelandair is the flag carrier of the Nordic nation and traces its roots back to the 1937 founding of its predecessor airline, Flugfélag Akureyrar. The company’s fleet consists of 43 Boeing and De Havilland aircraft, with 19 more aircraft on order.
The carrier serves dozens of destinations across North America, Greenland and Europe from its hub at Keflavik International Airport serving the capital of Reykjavík.
Operating on a 737-8 MAX, flights will arrive at PIT at 7:20 p.m. and depart at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays beginning May 16, 2024. Passengers headed to Keflavík International Airport can then connect to all the European locations in Icelandair’s network.
PIT previously offered nonstop service to Iceland via start-up WOW Air, which operated from June 2017 to January 2019. The strong passenger response to that route, primarily leisure travelers, contributed to Icelandair’s decision to move into the market.
“Icelandair is thrilled to announce our newest US gateway: Pittsburgh, Pa. Our hub in Iceland at Keflavík International Airport is a short flight from Pittsburgh International Airport with easy connections to the UK, Scandinavia and Continental Europe,” said Bogi Nils Bogason, Icelandair CEO.
“Pittsburgh is filled with a rich history and a vibrant culture, and home to many international businesses. With all that Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have to offer, we know Icelandair is the perfect fit to help bring Pittsburghers to the world, and the world to the Steel City, and we look forward to welcoming them aboard.”
Visitors to Iceland can explore Reykjavik, home to the enormous Hallgrímskirkja church, which inspired the look of Asgard in the Marvel Avengers movies.
Outside the city, the island nation offers an array of sights and outdoor adventures in a stunning variety of environments, including the black sand beach and basalt columns at Reynisfjara, the awe-inspiring Gullfoss waterfall and Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier.
And, of course, if you visit at the right time of the year, the Northern Lights will splash across the night sky.
Icelandair also offers a novel “stopover” option for customers, where they can choose to add up to a weeklong layover in Iceland before continuing on to another destination at no additional airfare, Bogason said.
But there is more to the route than leisure travel. There are business connections that are sure to grow because of the new service.
For example, Pittsburgh-based aluminum giant Alcoa—which sent representatives to the announcement at PIT—has operated a facility in Iceland since 2007, employing more than 400 people in the eastern port city of Reyðarfjörður.
One of the primary draws was the nation’s low-cost electricity generated almost entirely by sustainable sources: geothermal, hydro and wind energy, a quality echoed in PIT’s status as the only major airport in the U.S. operating completely on its own microgrid fueled by solar energy and natural gas.
In addition, Icelandair’s flights are expected to carry a variety of cargo to the U.S., including the nation’s largest export, fish. Officials expect the route to have a $9 million economic impact annually in Western Pennsylvania.
“We are excited to welcome Icelandair to Pittsburgh, providing our community with more high-quality transatlantic air service,” Cassotis said. “We know Iceland is a popular destination for our market, and beyond that, this route gives travelers a convenient connection to destinations throughout Europe.
“Thank you to Icelandair for their partnership and for recognizing the strength of the Pittsburgh market.”
Flights are available to book now at icelandair.com.