Despite deferring plans to add A321-200NX(LR)s, PLAY (Iceland) (OG, Reykjavik Keflavik) still sees the A321-200NX's extended-range variants as "really, really interesting" aircraft and could add them to reach more distant destinations, Chief Executive Birgir Jónsson told the Simple Flying Aviation News Podcast.

"It is a really, really interesting aircraft because it gives you some kind of benefit of having like a widebody jet. It gives you the range, but the cost profile is completely different. So it might actually be perfect for this [business] model," Jónsson said.

The Icelandic low-cost carrier planned to take a single A321-200NX(LR) in 2022 to add a new route to Orlando International but deferred these plans due to the rapidly rising fuel prices. Jónsson said that instead of the extended-range variant, the airline secured a favourably priced A320-200N originally earmarked for smartavia (5N, Arkhangelsk Talagi) but not taken up due to international sanctions on Russia.

Orlando remains one of the potential destinations that the airline would explore beyond the range of its current fleet.

"We do not have any fixed plans to introduce an LR or even an XLR, but we are monitoring it closely because the geographical location of Iceland, especially when you consider the XLR, can open some really, really interesting opportunities," Jónsson emphasised.

However, PLAY will only evaluate the A321neo(LR) or (XLR) after 2025. The LCC first intends to execute its initial fleet plan of growing to 15 aircraft. It currently operates three A320-200Ns and three A321-200Ns.

"We believe that in this niche market, 15 aircraft is the right point in time to take stock and evaluate the situation," he stressed.

He conceded that once PLAY grows beyond 15 aircraft, it would most likely have to schedule a second connecting bank at Keflavik. This would enable it to launch longer routes which would not fit into the current, single-bank schedule.

Jónsson pointed out that PLAY prefers to grow gradually instead of outstripping Reykjavik Keflavik's market potential. In an interview with ch-aviation early this year, he stressed that the carrier wants to avoid the mistakes made by WOW air (Reykjavik Keflavik), which functioned well with a narrowbody-only fleet but then collapsed after it went into the widebody market.