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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 1999 9:52 pm

Icelandair @ Luxembourg

Wed May 09, 2001 10:22 pm

I know Icelandair until a few years back flew to Luxembourg, but what I didnt know is they they had a European hub there.
Does anyone know more about this,like the frequency of flights there, which destinations it was linked to directly etc etc, and what was the cause of its cancelltion? Luxembourg sure seems like an unusual place for a hub.

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RE: Icelandair @ Luxembourg

Wed May 09, 2001 10:51 pm

I don't think Iceland had sixth freedom agreements with most European countries at that point, and since they wanted to carry traffic from the USA to Europe, via Iceland, they had to find a "friendly" nation like Luxembourg who was willing to accept sixth freedom traffic.
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RE: Icelandair @ Luxembourg

Wed May 09, 2001 11:38 pm

Did Icelandair have a hub at LUX??
As far as I know they used (and still use) Keflavik as there main hub.
Back in the old days they usually had two DC-8s, later on two 757s going to different destinations in the USA (I can think of MCO, JFK, BWI, BOS(??)) but both aircraft went to Iceland first to meet at least another aircraft from CPH and another one from LHR.
I am not aware that they had a code-share agreement out of Luxemburg, and not with Luxair.
Maybe someone out there knows more??

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RE: Icelandair @ Luxembourg

Thu May 10, 2001 3:39 am

From what I understood, LUX wasn't a hub. It was simply an airport with no connections to the USA and so all LUX pax to the USA flew FI. They had a daily 757 into the place but no more.

I don't know if they had an agreement with LU. Anyone know?

I've often wondered why they pulled out? Insignificant loads?

Any info would be appreciated
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Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2001 1:41 pm

RE: Icelandair @ Luxembourg

Thu May 10, 2001 5:27 am

Icelandair pulled out of Luxembourg to the great consternation of the Luxembourg government.This was the only direct(via stop in Iceland)service for Luxembourg to North America. There was and still is a considerable Icelandic expat population in Luxembourg. And Cargolux was originally started by Icelandics. But Icelandair realised that Luxembourg was/is a backwater and , I believe, moved to Frankfurt to increase their loads and opportunities. This is the only genuine European base that Icelandair maintains and who can blame them for moving.Luxembourg is very quaint and that is about all. LuxAir(prodded by the government)wet-leased a 767 from City Bird in Belgium to fly scheduled service from Luxembourg to the US East Coast. This lasted six months and lost money hand over fist. So all the nonsense about the great North American connection with Luxembourg was dropped.
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RE: Icelandair @ LUX (long Reply)

Thu May 10, 2001 5:59 am


Icelandair used to fly between Luxembourg and Keflavik and onwards to New York Idlewild (now JFK) for appr. 44 years. (BTW, Icelandair was the product of the merger between two icelandic airlines in the early 1970's, the carrier which started service between LUX and IDL/JFK was actually Loftleidir).
They started in 1955 with the DC-4, later changed to the DC-6. From June 1964 they operated the Canadair CL-44D4 and after a while the stretched CL-44J which seated over 180 passengers (!). Loftleidir called the CL-44 the "Rolls Royce 400" due to their engines. At that time, Loftleidir flew LUX-KEF-JFK 5 times a week with a mixture of DC-6 and CL-44, plus operating several, less frequent, DC-6 flights from London, Amsterdam and Scandinavia via Keflavik to JFK. BTW, the CL-44 saved 4h 30min between JFK and KEF compared to the DC-6. On the sector KEF-LUX the time saving was another 1h50min! In the late 1960's LUX-KEF-JFK was served daily by CL-44's while London and all the other European destinations were only served once or twice a week. At that time Loftleidir started to set up a subsidiary called "International Air Bahama" which flew charter flights from Luxembourg via Shannon to Nassau, using DC-8 equipment.
These years also saw the replacement of the CL-44 by the DC-8 on Loftleidir's main line. The CL-44 were converted to freighters and handed over to Cargolux, where Loftleidir held a stake of 33%.
In the late 1970's the airline which was now called "Icelandair" put the DC-10 on a 6x weekly service LUX-KEF-JFK while the DC-8 served Washington and Chicago ex Keflavik, with good transfers to the DC-10 flight. Unfortunately the forced grounding of all DC-10's after the American Airlines Crash in Chicago 1979 put a quick end to the DC-10 operation at Icelandair. So in the 1980's the DC-8-63 was found on a daily LUX-JFK flight, to be replaced in the early 1990's by the 757 which remained on this route until Icelandair ceased operations into LUX in 1999.

The original reasons for their presence in LUX were as far as i know indeed the traffic rights. Only from LUX they had the chance to undercut the high IATA rates in the 1950's and 60's to offer some kind of "budget air bridge" between Europe and the USA. They had organized bus shuttles fom other European cities to LUX to increase the catchment area of this small country.
Even in the 1980's I remember that an Icelandair from LUX to JFK including the bus shuttle from Germany to LUX was remarkably cheaper than a flight FRA-JFK on LH or PA. As far as I know they had no commercial agreement with Luxair though....

When the other airlines started to decrease their fares on the Atlantic, the passengers started to look for more comfortable nonstop flights rather than for the transfer flights and bus shuttles via LUX. Therefore the operation in LUX could no longer be kept at a satisfactory level. Therefore Icelandair decided in 1999 to stregtehn their presence in Paris and Frankfurt by withdrawing the daily rotation from LUX in favor of increased service to these two destinations.

If anyone reached this point of my long posting I hope that I could at least answer some questions.

Best regards,

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RE: Icelandair @ Luxembourg

Thu May 10, 2001 9:09 am

Interesting story. I can remember Icelandair's newspaper ads that promoted Luxemburg as being "the heart of Europe". In fact, the only mention of Iceland was in the name of the airline. "Oh by the way, we're stopping in Iceland also...."
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RE: Icelandair @ Luxembourg

Thu May 10, 2001 11:23 am

One of my professors remembers flying Icelandair to Europe, probably as a poor grad student in the 70's and flying into Luxembourg. At one point about 10 years ago after my grandfather died we were cleaning out the house and going through a box of photos there was a pamphlet for Icelandair featuring the DC-10 and the DC-8. Of course it was thrown out.

Before service to LUX was eliminated Icelandair's American website heavily promoted the benefits of LUX as being close to everything in Europe. I don't know if that is true or not, seeing as there are plentiful rail connections everywhere in Europe.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia

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