BAN's World GazetteerIceland
Icelandic operator Nordurflug has been operating flights around a volcano, which started erupting on 20 of March in the Geldingardal valley just north east of Grindavík. The full force eruption has launched lava up to 20 metres into the air. In the latter part of June activity was reduced and the volcano became dormant for several hours before resuming once more.
“As Iceland has been successful in vaccinating its population, it is classed as a safe destination by most countries,” says CEO Birgir Omar Haraldsson. “As a result there has been an explosion in the number of tourists, mostly from America and even Israel. The Airbus AS350B2 and the EC130B4 have proven to be very popular as the cabins have large windows. The EC130B4, with its exceptional windows, provides passengers with a stunning view of the eruption site.”
Nordurflug, as a leading helicopter operator in Iceland, has been flying frequently to the eruption site with a fleet of AS350B2s and EC130B4s. The eruption meant that the company's flights took off all of a sudden. “Such a sudden change of activities is a challenge to manage for any aviation operation,” Haraldsson continues.
Nordurflug's activities had been negatively affected by COVID-19. The company took cost cutting actions late in 2017 and early 2018 that enhanced liquidity, proving to be good for the devastating global pandemic that hit the airline business in March 2020.
Haraldsson concludes: “The COVID situation worldwide seems to be more manageable, not least in countries that have vaccinated most of their population. Still the will to travel remains uncertain at this time and thus it's not clear how this will affect the number of tourists coming to Iceland.”