Chairman and shareholder Einar Orn Olafsson is to become chief executive of Icelandic low-cost carrier Play, replacing Birgir Jonsson in the role.

Jonsson has been chief executive of the Icelandic carrier since before its launch of operations in the summer of 2021. News of his departure was announced on 18 March in a stock market disclosure, which also detailed Olafsson’s appointment.

Play A320neo-c-Play

Source: Play

Play ended 2023 with a fleet of 10 Airbus A320neo-family jets

Olafsson says: “I am really looking forward to this new role. After a great ramp-up phase these past few years under Birgir’s strong leadership, the company is now at a turning point. As the company’s largest shareholder, I’d like to see my investment through.

”I am very familiar with Play’s operations and employees and can see ample opportunities and exciting projects in the operation going forward.”

Olafsson, who previously led Icelandic firms Fjaroarlax and Skeljunger, has been chair of Play since April 2021.

Play Einar Orn Olafsson

Source: Play

Einar Orn Olafsson, chair of Play since April 2021, will become chief executive

Established during the pandemic, Play has been capitalising on the market initially developed by Wow Airlines in connecting Europe and North America via Iceland using Airbus narrowbodies.

After a bright start and delivering its first quarterly profit in the third quarter of last year, its hopes of delivering a full-year profit in 2023 were derailed by higher fuel costs and when demand to Iceland was hit amid heightened seismic activity in the country. It has since embarked on a fresh capital-raising efforts to reinforce its cash position.

“Being involved in building up Play airlines has been a real adventure,” says Jonsson. ”In a relatively short period of time, we have created a powerful Icelandic low-cost airline with outstanding products, services and a bright future.

”I therefore leave my position with immense pride. Play has now left its infancy and grown up to be a mature airline. I’ve had a good and close working relationship with Einar and leave the company in his capable hands. I look forward to seeing Play flourish under his leadership.”