A year has passed since the company initially planned to start selling seats imminently. And the Autumn 2020 target slipped without much of a peep. Enough time has passed to question whether launching a new airline right now is really a smart choice. But Iceland’s PLAY secured access to at least two London-area airports and Dublin should its operations launch in Summer 2021, suggesting that the company is still pushing forward.
The carrier received slot allocations at London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports according to guidance published this week by Airport Coordination Limited International (ACL), the group that oversees slots at those airports. Stansted is slated for twice daily service while Gatwick can receive one flight daily for the Summer 2021 season.
With the allocation of flight frequencies the aircraft seat count is also disclosed, suggesting that the carrier intends to equip its planes for 200 passengers to travel.
The allocations are somewhat surprising in that the Fly Play service is occasionally referred to under an alternate name: Air Onix.
Air Onix was once a Ukrainian airline operating a pair of 737 classics. The carrier was in business for just over a year and a half before the planes were repossessed for lack of payments. Onix saw its operating certificate revoked and its membership in IATA suspended shortly thereafter. Its “OG” airline code was revoked. So seeing it in the Stansted and Gatwick filings is surprising.
But Air Onix is listed as flying to Keflavik in a few places on the websites and the number of slots allocated at Gatwick lines up with the otherwise unmentioned PLAY. It is almost certainly a reallocation of the IATA or ICAO airline code that has not fully processed through all the systems, leading to a defunct Ukrainian airline filing plans to fly between Iceland and London.
A similar request and allocation was made for one daily service at Dublin.
Whether PLAY actually takes flight or not, including expansion to North America, remains to be seen. But at least two of the potential European destinations are now known.
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