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Wow! Icelandic Budget Airline Eyeing Asian Market

Wow! Icelandic Budget Airline Eyeing Asian Market
Jeff Edwards

WOW Air has confirmed that an expansion to its first destination in Asia is in the works. The move could soon give travelers a one-stop, economical gateway to the region from 15 North American Airports.

Reykjavík–Keflavík Airport (KEF)-based WOW Air says that it will launch its first routes to destinations in Asia starting in 2019. The ultra-low-cost carrier’s plans could give North American air travelers a whole new wallet-friendly option for traveling to cities in Asia.

“Beyond next year, with the addition of the A330neos, we will start Asia flights,” WOW Air CEO Skúli Morgensen told Forbes. Morgensen added that Iceland is a geographically “superior route” for connecting airports in Asia with the east coast of North America.

The CEO would not divulge which prospective destinations in Asia will be under consideration for the ambitious expansion plans, but Forbes’s Martin Rivers believes a destination in India is a likely candidate. He notes that beyond the geographic advantages of connecting North America and India via Iceland, consumer demand for flights between the east coast and the sub-continent have never been greater.

“While WOW could offer a range of Asian connections for East Coast citizens, the most cost-effective and time-effective routings would undoubtedly be in south Asia,” Rivers writes. “For a low-cost carrier that thrives on minimal wastage, such efficiencies are hard to ignore.”

A WOW Air expansion to India would mean that smaller market airports like Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) could soon have near direct flights (with a quick change at KEF) to destinations in India. The airline has already enjoyed enormous success connecting smaller North American airports to destinations across Europe, in some cases, at surprisingly low fares.

Although the WOW business model has worked well when it comes to shuttling budget-minded travelers between Europe and North America, it isn’t at all clear that the airline’s a la carte pricing scheme will be as welcomed by passengers headed to and from India. While WOW Air notoriously charges flyers a substantial fee for each carry-on and checked bag they bring with them on the flight, Air India, a potentially formidable new competitor, offers among the most liberal economy class baggage allowances in the industry.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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1 Comment

  1. anirudh666

    November 16, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Do Indian citizens living in US need a transit visa for travel through Iceland? If yes, there is absolutely no point of WOW air flying to India from KEF.

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