Icelandair to add nonstop route from Reykjavik to Detroit

Personally, im excited to see another foreign airline coming into the repertoire of DTW! Current foreign airlines present at the airfield are Air France, Air Canada, Royal Jordanian, and Lufthansa. This route from Icelandair is to be run seasonally with the inaugural flight in mid-May 2023.

Given that DTW has quite a few really good spots for spotting, im really looking forward to being able to snap some photos of the 737 MAX currently slated to operate the route.

Also given that the McNamara Terminal is exclusively Delta (and skyteam), im interested to see where in the Evans Terminal (formerly known as the North Terminal) the gate allotment is going to be. My prediction is the south end where RJ, AC, and Lufty operate from.

Who else in the Detroit area is as excited as I am?


It’s interesting to see Reykjavik paired up with Detroit. Two names I’m not used to in the same sentence. It’s amazing to see how the 737 has been so extended from its original design. Google gives the distance as 2,797 miles, which is pushing long haul distance.


A 6 hour flight apparently!

1 Like

Instead of pairing up KEF with DTW you should probably think more about it pairing up DTW with MUC, TFS, LHR, DUB, BER, etc.

Why those in particular? Am I looking at an obsolete list? I didn’t see those.

I listed random European Icelandair destinations. You could take any of their European destination since the vast majority of passengers uses Icelandair to transit and that’s their business model, that’s what I wanted to illustrate. Whenever they connect a city in Europe to KEF they basically connect it to NA rather than to KEF and the same but vice versa happens with North American destinations, too. That’s why they can connect destinations where the nonstop O&D wouldn’t be profitable at all.

1 Like

Absolutely you make a good point. I wasn’t considering Icelandair’s key geographic strength as a connecting hub. I was thinking of Reykjavik as a destination. “Transit is king” was the term I subsequently saw for Icelandair, as you pointed out. So, apparently about half of their passengers are transiting(?).

Though I also read they make quite a bit more per mile on inbound passengers than on transit passengers. So they need a healthy mix between the two. And the big increase in visitors to Iceland in the 2000’s must have helped them grow their transit market?

I think I heard that it’s quite typical for airlines to make less yield with transiting passengers as they have to offer lower fares to attract potential customers. I also think that the tourism to Iceland has helped them quite a bit to at least gain recognition, but since tourism to Iceland seems quite seasonal, I feel like their main focus is the NA-EU connection, exactly the system Northern Pacific wants to create just on the other side of the US.

1 Like

Yeah, I was asking myself why they need the lower margin business. Often the answer might be to spread large, fixed operating costs over a larger sales volume. But like you said, seasonality must be super important. It’s hard to imagine how else to avoid scaling your passenger capacity up and down dramatically with the seasonal direct arrivals.

So you fill in non-seasonal business, though at lower margins.

Likely not the most representative year for total numbers, but the seasonal dips probably are typical:

Nice information, but IF just doesn’t have DET 3D ;)

Yeah I guess they just try to stimulate demand, if successful increase yields with dynamic pricing, and simply take the slightly higher aggregated revenue they get if passengers fly a two-leg itinerary with them.

DTW is paired up with LHR through Delta Airlines.

I know. It’s also paired up with MUC, but that doesn’t really change anything in this case

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.