Thousands of travellers have been affected by the Icelandair aircraft mechanics strike, which continues today. RÚV reports that nearly all the airline’s flights were cancelled or delayed yesterday, and disruptions continue. Around 10,000 passengers travel with the airline daily through Keflavík Airport. Yesterday, an estimated two to three thousand did not reach their final destination.
The strike began yesterday morning following failed negotiations between the Icelandic Aircraft Mechanics Association (Flugvirkjafélag Íslands) and Icelandair. Talks resumed yesterday at 5 pm, but ended around 4 am this morning with no agreement reached. No further meetings have been scheduled.
Icelandair is now attempting to book passengers who intend to stopover in Iceland with other airlines in order to minimize traffic at Keflavík. This in turn frees up seats on Icelandair planes for those who have a single flight to or from Iceland.
Icelandair Public Relations Officer Guðjón Arngrímsson says the strike has had a stronger impact than the airline expected, but the situation is improving. Eight flights from the United States landed at Keflavík this morning. “There should have been 15 planes going to Europe but there are eight planes going, seven flights have been cancelled. Our fleet consists of 30 planes. When we don’t have working aircraft mechanics, if something comes up, then those airplanes are set aside and they aren’t used. So it thins out quickly,” stated Guðjón.
Customers of the airline have complained of limited information over the last days regarding the strike. Long queues continue at the airline’s service desk at Keflavík, where Isavia staff are handing out water bottles and attempting to make delayed travellers more comfortable. Guðjón says all possible staff have been called out this morning to tackle the issue.