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Iceland Express Comes to New York

Iceland Express, which currently operates flights between Reykjavik and about two dozen cities in Europe, will be coming to Newark International Airport in June.

Iceland Express boasts lower prices than Icelandair, and a quick perusal of June 2010 prices backs that up. Fares for a Newark/Reykjavik flight departing June 8 and returning June 15 were $680 on Iceland Express and $730 on Icelandair, taxes included. Clicking through each airline’s flexible date search, Iceland Express definitely seems cheaper, at least for now.

Fares for a flight from Newark to Copenhagen, same dates, came to $712 on Iceland Express and $820 on Icelandair.

As the New York Times recently pointed out, the economic downturn has, paradoxically, provided potential inroads for low-cost airlines in the transatlantic market. International travel is down, to be sure, but with so many debt-heavy legacy lines pulling back service, gutsy low-cost lines can jump into the game and lure budget-conscious travelers (after all, is there any other kind these days?) away from the bigger carriers. While economic uncertainty has likely kept many such airlines from taking the leap up until now, at least two are betting on next spring and summer, including Norwegian startup Feel Air and, of course, Iceland Express.

The question is, do these carriers have any staying power? Only time will tell. But the presence of a few low-cost carriers on the notoriously expensive (and arguably overpriced) transatlantic market is something travelers should be excited about.

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