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Craig's Corner: Vikings, Volcanoes and Visiting Europe

Watching a group of barbarian Vikings sporting safety vests haul Icelandair’s beautiful Boeing 757 to its departure gate on May 14 will surely go down as one of the more unique aircraft entrances ever witnessed at YVR.

But beyond offering a once-in-a-lifetime photo op, this visual represented a big win for Europe-bound B.C. travellers and businesses, as Icelandair now offers twice-weekly, seasonal service between Vancouver and Reykjavik, Iceland and beyond to 20-plus European destinations. 

Over the past year, I’ve talked a lot about Vancouver Airport Authority’s mandate to connect the people and products of British Columbia to the world, creating jobs and economic opportunity. This great new service proves that when skies open, flights will come, bringing tourism, business opportunities and local jobs – including, in this case, previously underemployed Viking ground crews.

Not only does this new service offer much-needed capacity to Europe during YVR’s busy summer travel season, it also opens the door to a whole new country and culture.  In the months of planning that preceded the inaugural, we learned a lot about the fresh and friendly culture of Iceland and its national carrier. Who wouldn’t want to visit or stop over in a country where so many believe that elves live in the hills, the national dish is a gourmet hot dog and midnight tee times are a reality? My bet is that plenty of British Columbians will give this route a try this summer and in the years to come.

Icelandair’s service kicks off at the perfect time. To say that summer is a busy time at YVR is an understatement. Load factors – that’s industry speak for how full a plane is - are at their peak to European destinations from May to September. We need this extra capacity. Luckily, many of YVR’s airline partners also offer great ways to get across the Atlantic.

Back for a second consecutive year is Lufthansa’s successful seasonal service to Munich which, when added to the year-round Frankfurt flight, doubles our capacity to Germany when we most need it. And the legendary Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic returns to YVR with a five flights per week, connecting passengers to London Heathrow.

Is a transatlantic European adventure on your summer agenda? Will you try out one of YVR’s new or returning services? Let us know by commenting here or sending an email to

Safe travels – and travel-planning.



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