The only new route for KEF in 2019 is seasonal ARN-KEF on SAS.
Could the number of PAX in KEF decrease in 2019? Should Keflavík PAX numbers be used as a thermometer for the global economy?
The forecasts I recently saw essentially predicted flat or slightly reduced numbers next year because:
1. Very little opportunity to increase accommodation utilisation at peak times in Reykjavik (even Air BnB), whilst demand in the rest of Iceland is broadly flat or reducing. This provides a practical cap irrespective of available seats to KEF.
2. US is 'the' key market by volume, but very peaky. The recent big leap in volume from the US was driven in part by the US3 dumping capacity to protect their core transatlantic business by fighting off expansion by Wow and to a lesser extent Icelandair. If the US3 strategy works the market will reset to a much smaller number of seats. It's unclear which markets could provide replacement visitors, although visitors to Europe from the far east are increasingly looking to visit Iceland, their numbers are currently very low and not enough to plug the gap.
3. UK remains the second key market by volume (especially outside of summer) and a likely weaker pound will reduce demand, especially for destinations with a reputation for expense, like Iceland.
I wasn't involved in putting it together but I do know that was before Wow's most recent problems. Certainly the travel interests in Iceland I personally know are expanding overseas as they perceive further growth at home as unlikely. Having said that, even if things do slow down, overall tourism in Iceland should still be seen as a success story when compared to say 10 years ago.