|Founded||2003 as JetX|
|Destinations||Over 70 (36 on scheduled flights)|
|Parent company||Primera Travel Group|
|Key people||Hrafn Thorgeirsson (CEO),
Andri Már Ingólfsson (President and Owner)
Primera Air is an Icelandic owned leisure airline owned by the Primera Travel Group (which consists mainly of Nordic tour operators Solresor, Bravo Tours, Lomamatkat, Heimsferðir and Solia), and its primary goal is to provide scheduled air travel services, as well as flights for tour operators and charter flights. In the last years, Primera has has grown at a steady pace and now offers flights from Northern Europe to over 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 received its Danish license under the name Primera Air Scandinavia with headquarters in Copenhagen. 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%.
In August 2014 Primera Air announced the founding of a new airline - Primera Air Nordic - 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. The move was further stressed by appointing the managing director Hrafn Thorgeirsson 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 8 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 7,6 million by the end of year. Today Primera Air is essentially a Danish-Latvian airline with Icelandic owners.
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.
Primera Air has also 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 round-way flights from its Scandinavian hubs 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. October 26, 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 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 early May 2016 the airline commenced regular flights from Billund to Nice and Venice. Shortly after 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.
Plans for summer 2017 include flights to Kalamata, Ponta Delgada and Madeira.
Primera Air provides charter services for the following companies:
- Travel agencies within Primera Travel Group
- Bravo Tours
- Terra Nova Iceland
- Budget Travel (ceased trading on 25 November 2009)
- Other Travel Agencies
- 747 Travel
- Travel City Sports
- Iceland Express
The Primera Air Scandinavia fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of January 2017):
- On 10 July 2009 a Primera Air Boeing 737-700, registration TF-JXG, performing flight PF-362 from Zakinthos (Greece) to Dublin (Ireland) with 153 passengers and 6 crew, was escorted by two Italian fighter aircraft to Rome Fiumicino airport (Italy) after the crew requested an emergency landing due to a technical problem. Primera Air said that the crew received an indication that the slats (leading edge devices) were not in their proper position. The indication prompted the crew to divert to an airport providing a sufficiently long runway for a slats up landing, which was available at Fiumicino. Naples was ruled out because of the terrain around the airport and the runway length. The airplane landed safely on runway 16L and the emergency status was cancelled 19 minutes after touch down.
- On 28 February 2016 a Primera Air Boeing 737-800 en route from Tenerife to Stockholm was forced to make an emergency landing in Nantes, France, after a mid-air engine problem. According to the pilots' report, they heard an unusual noise from one of the engines, after which one of the engines caught fire. A passenger also reported seeing one of the engines spewing fire. The aircraft, with 169 passengers on board, was safely landed at Nantes Airport, as it was the nearest, and all passengers and crew were taken to hotels for the night. According to a Primera Air spokesperson, the "cause of the technical defect is under investigation by our technical experts in cooperation with engine manufacture CFM. [...] We appreciate our flight crew for the professional handling of the flight and high standards."
- "IATA - Airline and Airport Code Search". iata.org. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
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- Primera Air
- Welcome to Primera Air | firstname.lastname@example.org | primeraair.com
- "Global Airline Guide 2016 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2016): 13.
Media related to Primera Air at Wikimedia Commons