ICELANDAIR today pledged to improve punctuality on one of Scotland’s poorest-performing air routes as it announced extra flights between Glasgow and Reykjavik.
The airline, which announced last week it would add an Aberdeen route next year, is understood to be also eyeing a possible link to Inverness.
The Glasgow service was the airport’s worst performer last year and one of the least punctual on the airline’s network.
One third of flights were late - more than 15 minutes behind schedule - with average delays of 26 minutes.
More than one in ten flights were delayed by more than one hour, according to figures from the flightontime.info website.
Icelandair said the problem was caused by delays on transatlantic flights to Icelandair’s Reykjavik hub having a knock-on effect on Glasgow services.
These flights were held back most often because the route is the shortest of the airline’s 26 European routes.
UK and Ireland general manager Andres Jonsson said he hoped that putting an aircraft on stand-by at Reykjavik would improve punctuality when the airline receives new planes next year.
He said: “That is definitely something that needs to be improved.”
Mr Jonsson was in Glasgow today to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the link - Iceland’s oldest international route - by announcing summer flights would be increased from five to six a week next March.
It comes as the latest of a series of steps towards the airline reaching its target of restoring daily flights on the route, which operated until the recession in 2008.
The frequency increased to four in 2013 and five last year, using 183-seat Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
Mr Jonsson said there had been particular growth in passengers from the United States and Canada visiting Scotland, such as for the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles last September.
He said Iceland’s strategic mid-Atlantic position enabled Icelandair to offer the quickest journeys between Scotland and several cities on the North American west coast, even with the stopover to change planes in Reykjavik.
Icelandair’s initial flights to Scotland were in a Catalina flying boat to Largs Bay in 1945, the first of which carrying four passengers and four crew.
Mr Jonsson said: “Demand from our longest-serving international gateway is strong and we look forward to offering more options of flying to Iceland and connecting into our network to US and Canada.”
Glasgow Airport commercial director Francois Bourienne said: “Icelandair has clearly demonstrated its confidence in the Scottish market by adding significant new capacity for the past three years, and today’s announcement builds on that once again.”
The Aberdeen service will be operated by sister airline Air Iceland four times a week using smaller, 72-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
The Scotsman understands such aircraft could be used on a possible future Inverness-Reykjavik route.
Icelandair is also thought to be potentially interested in flying to Edinburgh in the longer term, although this has been less attractive since EasyJet launched flights between the capital and Reykjavik two years ago.