A low-cost carrier plans to begin offering direct flights between Winnipeg and Iceland next summer.
Iceland Express plans to offer the new flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays between June 12 and Sept. 4.
Ottawa-based tour operator Go Travel Flights, which plans to offer direct flights between Winnipeg and London starting in June, has agreed to sell seats on the Iceland Express flights.
According to the company's website (www.icelandexpress.com), its planes (Boeing 757s) will leave Winnipeg at 6:40 p.m. and arrive in Reykjavik at 5:50 a.m.
A round-trip ticket will cost US$538, including fees and taxes.
"We are very excited to open this route that connects Iceland to the old Icelandic community in Canada," Iceland Express CEO Matthias Imsland said in a written statement.
"This has been in our plans for some time, and brings new travelling opportunities to Icelanders on both sides of the Atlantic," he said. "We consider Winnipeg a key part of our North American expansion."
Winnipeg Airports Authority CEO Barry Rempel said the new service is one of the first benefits of the recently signed open-skies agreement between Canada and the European Union, and will provide greater options and consumer benefits to the local community, including improved frequency of flights.
"It is a start, and provides additional employment hours for ground-handling staff here in Winnipeg," Rempel added.
WAA spokeswoman Christine Alongi said one of the nice things about the new service is that after letting passengers off in Reykjavik, the Iceland Express planes will be continuing on to London's Gatwick airport. And from there, travellers can catch connecting flights to almost anywhere in Europe.
Travel Manitoba president and CEO Hugh Mesman said the new direct flights to and from Iceland will be good news for Manitoba's tourism industry.
"We are already active in Germany and the United Kingdom," he said, "and this service will offer another European market for our tourism operators."