|Founded||2003 as JetX|
|Destinations||97 (36 on scheduled flights)|
|Parent company||Primera Travel Group|
Primera Air is a leisure airline owned by the Primera Travel Group, an Icelandic company that consists mainly of Nordic tour operators Solresor, Bravo Tours, Lomamatkat, Heimsferðir and Solia. Its primary goal is to provide scheduled air travel services, and flights for tour operators and charter flights. Primera has grown at a steady pace and offers flights from Northern Europe to more than 70 destinations in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic.
The airline was founded in 2003 as JetX in Iceland, and operated under an Icelandic AOC. In 2008 Primera Travel Group took ownership of the airline and rebranded it as Primera Air, while also appointing Jón Karl Ólafsson as the new CEO of Primera Air. In 2009 Primera Air established the subsidiary Primera Air Scandinavia under a Danish Air operator's certificate (AOC) and in 2014 added a Latvian operating license under the name "Primera Air Nordic". Hrafn Thorgeirsson was appointed Managing Director of Primera Air Scandinavia in 2009 while Jón Karl remained CEO of Primera Air.
The head offices for the holding company and airline remained in Iceland until 2014 when the main offices were moved to Riga, Latvia. The success of Primera Travel Group in Denmark, Sweden and Iceland facilitated further expansion and growth during the next years; in July 2014 Primera Air flew 155.000 passengers in 1006 flights with an average flight seat utilization of 91%.
Initially Primera Air operated charter flights for major Scandinavian tour operators, but gradually started selling surplus seats as "flight-only" tickets on some of the fixed charter flights in 2013. The continued success allowed Primera Air to increase both the number of routes and flight frequency, resulting in a mixed charter/scheduled carrier business model. Today the majority of Primera Air flights are scheduled, although some flights combine charter and regular passengers, and separate full charter flight services are also available.
In August 2014 Primera Air announced the founding of a new airline - Primera Air Nordic, IATA code 6F - in Latvia, which would be run parallel to Primera Air Scandinavia. Simultaneously, a new Network Control Center was opened in Riga for overseeing all operational matters of the airline, focusing on continuation of the healthy development enjoyed in prior years and to expand into markets beyond Scandinavia. A supportive business environment, skilled workforce and high quality standards were the key factor for moving the control center. Hrafn Thorgeirsson was appointed as the new CEO of both Primera Air Scandinavia and Primera Air Nordic.
The major restructuring and consolidation had a positive impact on the airline. In 2015 Primera Air operated eight aircraft with a turnover of 250 million USD, and earned more than 5.2 million euros in total revenue before taxes (EBITDA). During the first 8 months of 2016 the airline had earned 4 million euros with an estimate of 7.60 million by the end of year.
Primera Air has announced increased flight frequency for flights to its most popular destinations in southern Spain, and the pricing policy on these routes has allowed it to compete with the low-cost carrier Norwegian.
Generally Primera Air operates return flights from its Scandinavian airports to popular holiday destinations along the Mediterranean coast of Europe, the Canary Islands, the Azores, Madeira, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as custom charter flights to virtually any destination. The airline maintains seasonal summer and winter selections.
The selection of scheduled flight destinations has gradually expanded since their introduction in 2013. In late 2014 Primera Air launched 10 new winter and summer direct flight destinations from Iceland, namely, Las Palmas, Tenerife, Alicante, Salzburg, Malaga, Mallorca and Barcelona, Bologna, Crete and Bodrum.
On 26 October 2014 Primera Air launched weekly flights from Gothenburg and Malmö to Dubai (Al Maktoum) and Tenerife, from Helsinki to Fuerteventura and Las Palmas. On November 16 the airline commenced a new route from Keflavik to New York (JFK) after acquiring rights to serve the United States. Later that year the airline started four new weekly routes: Aalborg-Las Palmas, Copenhagen-Billund-Lanzarote, Aarhus-Tenerife and Aalborg-Fuerteventura.
In 2015, Primera Air signed agreements worth 30 million euros with several leading travel agencies in France for operating a series of flights with 2 aircraft from Charles de Gaulle airport to popular holiday destinations during summer.
In February 2016 Croatian destinations of Dubrovnik and Pula were added to the range of flight destinations. In May 2016 the airline commenced regular flights from Billund to Nice and Venice. Shortly afterwards flights to Antalya were introduced. Later that year Primera Air announced the increase in frequency for existing destinations as well as new destinations (Milan and Rome) from Stockholm for the summer season of 2017. It was done in an effort to strengthen its operations and presence in Sweden and in line with plans for further fleet and destination range expansion. Later that year Trieste, Almería and Lamezia Terme were added as destinations.
Summer 2017 saw the addition of routes to Kalamata, Ponta Delgada and Madeira. In July 2017, Primera Air announced they would start transatlantic flights in 2018 to Newark, Boston and Toronto-Pearson from Birmingham, London Stansted and Paris Charles de Gaulle with a fleet of 8 Airbus A321neo aircraft. In early 2018 Washington DC was added as the latest transatlantic destination  , while Athens, Kos and Zakynthos are the latest holiday destination additions.
In June 2018, citing "delivery delays by Airbus of its A321neo fleet," Primera canceled all transatlantic flights to and from Birmingham scheduled on or after June 21, 2018. In accordance with EU regulations, Primera offered passengers the choice of a comparable flight from London Stansted or a ticket refund. Transatlantic flights to and from Birmingham are expected to resume in 2019.
Primera Air provides charter services for the following companies:
- Travel agencies within Primera Travel Group: Heimsferðir, Bravo Tours, Matka-Vekka, Lomamatkat, Solia, Solresor and Terra Nova Iceland.
- Third-party travel agencies: 747 Travel, Travel City Sports and Úrval-Útsyn.
- Other Airlines: Icelandair, Scandinavian Airlines and TUI Airways amongst others.
The Primera Air Scandinavia fleet consists of the following aircraft as of August 2017:
|Airbus A321LR||—||2||16||182||198||Launch customer; to be delivered in 2018.|
|Airbus A321neo||3||3||16||182||198||Deliveries commenced in 2018.|
|Boeing 737 MAX 9||—||10||TBA||To be delivered in 2019.|
Order with purchase rights for 2 additional aircraft.
Lease rights for 8 additional aircraft.
Primera Air Nordic Fleet
The Primera Air Nordic fleet consists of the following aircraft as of August 2017:
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Media related to Primera Air at Wikimedia Commons