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Airline Voice Radio Podcast, Episode 12: Setting the tempo for a rocking startup performance, with Birgir Jonsson, PLAY Airlines

The “Reaching New Heights” series returns to the airwaves with Accelya CEO Jim Davidson chatting to Birgir Jónsson, CEO at PLAY Airlines. Birgir not only brings many years of international management experience to PLAY, but he also ticked off the “become a rockstar” box and was a professional drummer in one of Iceland’s most famous bands. Now at PLAY, he’s ensuring that the airline performs at its best to give its audience what it wants.

For the first time in an Airline Voice Radio episode, we feature a startup airline to hear about the importance of establishing a solid corporate culture from the offset and how investing in an employee training program will create a structure and team spirit to match the airline’s ambitious growth.

PLAY doesn’t have a legacy system problem but implementing the proper infrastructure combined with scalability and flexibility will ensure that today’s solutions won’t become outdated. This is demonstrated by PLAY’s implementation of Accelya’s Revenue Management solution, which is constantly evolving to meet changing customer needs. The solution also solved the airline’s challenge of having no historical data to forecast demand and make critical pricing decisions.

“When you’re a startup, you can really build your technical and IT infrastructure in a way that reduces cost and allows you to react quickly to the environment, especially when it comes to revenue management. It gives you visibility and allows you to move as quickly as you want to move”, Birgir Jónsson, PLAY Airlines.

In this episode, you’ll hear that:

  • Making the most of Iceland’s unique geographical location, the airline’s business model connects the US to Europe with a stop in Iceland, rather than focusing on the highly competitive European market.
  • The airline increased its workforce from 40 employees in 2021 to over 300 this year and will reach 500 in 2023.
  • PLAY is also focusing on building a robust digital footprint to attract new customers and communicates in a fresh, laid back, and well, Icelandic way.

This podcast gives excellent insights into how startups can thrive, even during a pandemic, and is a welcome addition to our “Reaching New Heights” series. Stay tuned for some more inspiring airline leaders that we have planned for future podcasts. We can’t guarantee that they’ll be rockstars, but we’re sure they will leave you asking for an “encore”.

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