Skúli Mogensen

Skúli Mogensen

CEO and Founder of Wow air tells us all about the Icelandic low-cost carrier and the Indian market

Anushka Nair
June 19 , 2018
04 Min Read

OT: What’s your immediate vision and business plan for WOW air in India?

Skúli Mogensen: Hopefully, this is just the first of many steps. We’re very excited, since Delhi is our first destination in Asia. With the growth of international travel and the local economy, I think India is an important next step—it’s going to be our longest route, and we are getting four brand new Airbus A330neos. We will be one of the first airlines in the world to employ and use them for this route, on connecting flights via Iceland to all our North American and European destinations. Our goal is to be significantly cheaper than the others. We strive to offer great value for money, and it’s been great to see how much people already know about Iceland as a destination. The number of Indians visiting Iceland has been growing annually, despite the lack of direct flights and the expenses incurred in getting there.


OT: Other than the new A330neos, what else sets WOW air apart?

Skúli Mogensen: I often say that it costs nothing to smile. I know this sounds simple, but it’s amazing how most airlines seem to have forgotten this simple fact. If you just look at our deliveries, our pink planes and uniforms, our service level—we use actors to train our crew. Along with the price, all these small, simple things are unique. We like to have a price differentiator that offers great value for money. Getting a brand new aircraft, paying only for what you use, friendly service—these are our core elements.

OT: Could you tell us about some places one should go to in Iceland?

Skúli Mogensen: My suggestion would be, don’t necessarily follow the traditional, touristy, route. Go 15 minutes outside the city, and you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. There is no artificial light or sound, no people, cars or houses. Just you and nature. As an Icelander, it’s what I do all the time, because you’re totally free to hike the mountains, see the waterfalls, experience the glaciers and be one with nature. Rather than recommending specific waterfalls or glaciers, I’d say an authentic experience is more crucial.

OT: You mainly have smaller planes like A320s and A330s. Do you plan to use larger aircrafts eventually?

Skúli Mogensen: Our A330neos have 365 seats, so I think that’s large enough to begin with. And it’s a great aircraft, in terms of fuel efficiency, which is crucial. Our planes are carbon efficient and environmentally sound.

OT: What routes and frequencies have you planned for India?

Skúli Mogensen: We’re starting with five flights a week, and will hopefully graduate to daily flights. All five will go to Iceland and move on to 14 major North American cities like San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Dallas, Montreal, etc. And, of course, to London, Amsterdam, Paris and other cities in Europe.

OT: Could you share your thoughts on India as an emerging aviation market?

Skúli Mogensen: I feel India is preparing for a great expansion driven by underlying economic factors. With a growing middle class, one of the first things that people want to do is travel. I feel Indians are setting the stage for great developments in many areas. If you look at the current number of international travellers, I think the bigger challenge will be to keep the infrastructure growth at par with the growing demand.

OT: What’s been your mantra in life?

Skúli Mogensen: The first thing is to choose a path that you are passionate about. If you are fortunate enough to do something you love, you will most likely succeed at it. I don’t necessarily mean financial success, but a fulfilling life. I started WOW air because I was looking for a new challenge, to go to bed fulfilled every night and look forward to the next morning—if you can do that, you’re lucky. For me, exploring new markets, meeting new people, working with a great team, is what is most rewarding.

OT: What’s your long term plan for WOW air in India? How do you see it growing in 10 years?

Skúli Mogensen: I have no idea and I don’t want to know, because then it would not be an adventure anymore. The plan is to take things as they go; not having all the answers right away is part of the fun. Hopefully, we continue to enjoy what we’re doing, and remain successful at it.


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