DENVER, Col. — Today Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Denver International Airport (DIA) announced that Icelandair will begin year-round, nonstop service from Denver to Reykjavik in May 2012. The new service will connect the Mile High City to more than 20 destinations in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Europe and is expected to bring more than $28 million in annual economic impact to the state. Icelandair is the first new carrier to initiate transatlantic service at DIA in more than 10 years.
“I’m looking forward to the relationship between the City and County of Denver and Icelandair, and to personally welcoming the first flight from Reykjavik,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “This flight will allow us to continue to bring new global opportunities to our state and to stimulate growth in our economy. It will also open our doors to new markets and allow our business and leisure travelers to enjoy an easy one-stop connection to Scandinavia, the U.K. and Europe.”
“We are elated to have been chosen as Icelandair’s newest North American market,” said DIA Aviation Manager Kim Day. “As the fifth-busiest airport in the United States, DIA serves more than 160 destinations nonstop, providing incredible access to international travelers. Visitors from Iceland will discover a world of adventure in and around Denver, as well as points beyond.”
“We were thrilled to choose Denver from a short-list of potential new gateway cities, as we feel it is a natural fit for Icelandair,” said Birkir Holm Gudnasson, CEO of Icelandair. “Denverites will love the nature, lifestyle and culture of Iceland, while Icelanders will feel at home with the landscape, active lifestyle and independent philosophy in Denver.”
Beginning May 11, 2012, Icelandair will operate four nonstop flights per week from DIA. The airline’s fleet of Boeing 757 aircraft will provide convenient access to Europe through its Reykjavik hub at Keflavik International Airport. The route will give travelers direct access to Iceland as well as connection points to London, Paris, Munich, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Manchester and Glasgow, among other cities. Denver is the ninth North American city to be served by Icelandair.
“Savvy travelers of Denver will now have a fresh alternative when traveling to Europe. Icelandair is happy to enter this city with competitive airfares and convenient routes to Iceland and onward,” said Thorsteinn Egilsson, general manger of Icelandair, The Americas.
“DIA is Colorado’s gateway to the world and a $22 billion economic engine for the state,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “Icelandair’s service to Denver will create jobs in Colorado and bring new global opportunities to the entire region.”
Europe ranks as Denver’s largest international market, accounting for one-third of DIA’s international origination and destination travel. Even with daily flights to London (British Airways) and Frankfurt (Lufthansa Airlines), Denver has been underserved in transatlantic access. The new air service is expected to bring nearly 300 jobs to Colorado, including 33 direct jobs, generating an estimated $9 million in wages and more than $19 million in tourism spending. Visit Denver, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the State of Colorado, the Colorado Tourism Office and Colorado Ski Country USA have all committed to supporting the new initiative through marketing dollars and other means.
“Tourism is one of the region’s biggest potential growth markets and is already Denver’s second-largest industry, generating $3 billion in annual spending while supporting 50,000 jobs,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. “A new nonstop, transatlantic flight is a huge selling factor for Denver. In recent years, the convention industry has seen its largest growth come from international attendees. Making Colorado easily accessible to visitors from Scandinavia, Europe and the U.K. will attract large international conventions and open the region to new opportunities.”
“We always believed that a third carrier out of Denver could serve northern Europe and Scandinavia, where business synergies have increased over the last several years,” said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. “The addition of Icelandair as our newest carrier affirms the confidence that northern Europe has in the metro Denver and Colorado markets.”
“Attracting international guests to visit Colorado’s world-class ski resorts has been a long-standing priority of Colorado Ski Country USA,” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “The Icelandair service will really enhance the options for Colorado-bound skiers from Scandanavia, Europe and Iceland, helping to make Colorado an even more attractive winter holiday destination. Skiers will help to balance out the seasonality in traffic from these markets. We are proud to have worked in partnership with our business friends in Denver to attract Icelandair.”
Additional information about Icelandair routes, fares and travel packages are available on the airline’s website, www.icelandair.us.