WOW air has revealed it has been forced to cancel plans to expand into North America due to the airline being denied key departure slots at Keflavik Airport.
Rival airline Icelandair currently has a monopoly on the most sought after departure times between Iceland and North America which has long prevented consumers from being able to enjoy “competitive fares”, argues WOW.
In November 2013, the Icelandic Competition Authority found the current arrangement of slot allocations is damaging to competition and instructed Isavia, Iceland’s national airport and air navigation service provider, to ensure that WOW air has access to vital airport slot times in order to compete in that market.
Despite this ruling, the key departure times needed to connect flights from Europe and North America have still not been granted.
Faced with an indefinite waiting period for a final decision to be reached, WOW air has been forced to cancel scheduled flights to Boston in spring 2014.
“As tourism to Iceland continues to grow at an ever-increasing rate, the demand for routes from North America to our country is greater than ever,” said Skúli Mogensen, chief executive of WOW air.
“We’re in a position to offer these additional routes and are incredibly disappointed to be prevented from doing so due to an unresolved decision on departure allocations.
“This is not only having a detrimental effect on our plans to expand, but also on our passengers’ right to competitive rates and Icelandic tourism as a whole,” he continued.”
WOW air had expected to carry 22,620 international passengers from Boston.