Icelandair Group‘s employees are one of the Company‘s greatest strategic assets. All employees are part of the same team and the Company‘s core values, passion, simplicity and responsibility, are guiding the Company to maintain a strong and motivating company culture.

Number of employees

In the light of the global pandemic, drastic measures had to be taken to adjust the Company to almost a total drop in travel demand and an extended period of minimum operations. These measures unfortunately affected more than two thousand valued employees.

No. of avg. FTEs

For the fiscal year 2020 Icelandair Group consisted of 13 operating companies with Icelandair as its core with 84% of the employee population, whereof the support functions of Icelandair support the subsidiaries and thus creating scalability and synergies within the group of operating companies.

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Icelandair 1,924 2,143 3,260 3,451 2,208
IGS* 695 779
Icelandair Cargo 58 56 80 91 77
Fjarvakur - Icelandair Shared Services*** 128 127 137 131
Air Iceland Connect**** 224 232 233 210 100
Loftleidir Icelandair 10 10 11 14 13
VITA 23 25 30 29 19
Icelandair Hotels***** 646 677 673 659 137
Iceland Travel 176 197 168 126 67
Icelandair Group** 16 17 14 4
3,900 4,263 4,606 4,715 2,621

Health and safety

General health and well-being of Icelandair Group employees is a priority where the Company endeavours towards providing an attractive and exciting place to work where people can thrive at their best. The Company has in place a comprehensive Health & Attendance Policy under which – among other things – Icelandair Group offers various health-related programs and initiatives to further the employee's health and wellbeing. Promoting good health among employees is high on the Company's agenda and initiatives have been launched with the overall aim of improving the well-being of all employees. Adjacent to this the Company has a service agreement with Health Protection Service (Heilsuvernd) on confidential medical services ensuring employee's access to health care.

Health Indicator*


Average no. of sick days per FTE

* The health indicator is inclusive of employee sick days

Safety is Icelandair’s top priority. We work closely with experts to ensure safety, including Icelandic health authorities and aviation specialist like MedAire. Preventive measures where regularly evaluated and updated and crew and staff were informed and educated accordingly. Disinfectant and protective equipment were available on board and at the airport. Mask requirement for crew and passengers on board was implemented in the mid of June as well as temperature measurements for crew before each flight. Boarding, service and deboarding procedures where changed. Cleaning was increased and new disinfection procedure put in place. Everything was done to ensure our crew and our passengers safety during these unprecedented times.

Jóna Björg Jónsdóttir

Health Manager - People & Culture

During the past year, it was clearly demonstrated that teamwork and flexibility are at the core of the company culture at Icelandair Group. The Company is proud of how its team of people has adapted to new working conditions. Office employees have had to work from home for the most part of the year and the Company has supported them by providing office equipment and offering practical tips to guide employees, for example on good posture and appropriate working space, as well as giving advice about how to maintain a good work-life balance and offering online lectures about mental health and how to handle uncertainties and changed circumstances. Emphasis has also been on encouraging and helping the leadership team to be in good communications with employees and assist them in new challenges in managing remote work. Many frontline employees can, however, not work from home. Therefore necessary changes were made to the workplace and work schedules to ensure the safety of employees and to ensure that the Company complied with all rules and regulations with regards to restrictions on gatherings of people, number limits, proximity limits and mask use. The workplace was divided up according to the rules of maximum number of people at any given time and with no or limited contact between compartments.

Gender equality

Equal rights

One of Icelandair Group's main focus areas in corporate responsibility is gender equality. The Company emphasizes equality, diversity and non-discrimination. This focus, which ensures that all employees are provided with equal opportunities and equal rights, is an integral part of the Equal Rights Policy and Equal Rights Plan which has been approved by the Executive Committee.

The company promotes equality by providing equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants. Rich emphasis is on building diverse teams and any discrimination is not tolerated. Diversity in our leadership team is specially important.

Gender ratio

Equal opportunities and gender stereotypes

The first step to ensure equal opportunities is to reduce the impact of gender stereotypes by showing great role models and introduce the jobs to girls where women are underrepresented and to boys where men are underrepresented. Icelandair needs to ensure that the roles offered at Icelandair are appealing and available for everyone.

Icelandair has made considerable improvements when it comes to gender equality in recent years. Ten years ago, there was only one woman of five Board Directors and only men within the Executive Management, today women represent:

  • 40% of the Board of Directors
  • 38% of the Executive Management
  • 41% of other management positions

Board of directors 2009

Board of directors 2019

Board of directors 2020

Executive Management 2009

Executive Management 2019

Executive Management 2020

Icelandair was among the top airlines with the highest proportion of female pilots in the world, or 12%, increasing from 6.5% in 2009. However the effects of Covid-19 have changes the landscape for female pilots significantly and the proportion of female pilots was 9% averaged for 2020 and at the beginning of 2021 only 4 female pilots at the Company.

Male cabin crew were 5.3% 10 years ago but were 9% in 2019, despite Covid-19 that proportions is the same in 2020.

The gender balance within aircraft maintenance roles has not changed over time and is still over 99% men.

Female Pilots

Male cabin crew

Gender equlity objectives for 2025

The international Air Transport Association (IATA) introduced a special equality project for airlines in 2019 called "25by25". The aim of this project is to bring the proportion of the gender that is underrepresented in management and flight-related roles to 25% or improve the current status by 25%. Icelandair has set targets in line with these goals about gender equality in management positions, pilot positions, cabin crew positions and aircraft maintenance technicians jobs.

The year 2020 was unprecedented in aviation history. With minimum operations for an extended period of time and extensive measures taken during the year that affected many of Icelandair Group's employees, the implementation of this project was put on hold. Achieving gender equality across the Company's operations, however, remains one of the Company's core focus areas when it comes to corporate responsibility. The Company will continue its efforts towards its long-term goals in this area as soon as operations have returned to normal again.

Equal Pay Policy

Icelandair Group implemented an equal pay policy in 2018. The purpose of the Equal Pay Policy is to ensure gender pay equality in the Company through the implementation of an Equal Pay System. Icelandair Group commits to ensure that equal wages are paid for jobs of equal value, irrespective of gender. Enforcement of the Policy and ensuring full observance of gender equality in decisions on wages is the responsibility of management. The Executive Board of Icelandair Group will annually establish equal pay objectives based on measurements derived from a pay analysis. Four companies within Icelandair Group, Icelandair, Icelandair Cargo, Air Iceland Connect and Iceland Travel, had been certified by a third party and received Equal pay certification in 2019. Due to the pandemic Iceland Travel has not been recertified in 2020 and Air Iceland Connect is being implemented into Icelandair and therefore not recertified. Icelandair and Icelandair Cargo have been audited in 2020 and passed the audit.

EqualPay_2019_2022_primaryUse_on_light_background_Minnkað copy.png

2020 2019 2018
Gender pay ratio Basic earnings 0.93% in favour of women 0.24% in favour of men 1.22% in favour of men
Gender pay ratio Regular earnings 2.86% in favour of men 1.87% in favour of men 2.2% in favour of men

Employee age distribution

The change in Icelandair Group's workforce age distribution between 2019 and 2020 is caused by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as the Company has let go of more then 2,000 valued employees. The change is most visible in the younger and older age groups. At Icelandair Group 97% of employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements, the flight operations unions have a tenure contract clause that means that the youngest pilots, cabin crew and aircraft maintenance technicians leave the company first. Which deduces that the most senior employees are now working and when the company starts to ramp-up as soon as markets recover employees will be hired back in terms of previous tenure at the Company. Therefore it will take time to reach balance in regards to diversity in the workforce.

Employee age distribution 2020

Employee age distribution 2019

Employee tenure

As Icelandair has historically been the only international airline operator based in Iceland there are consequently many jobs and roles that are industry specific and thus almost exclusively found in Icelandair. This means that employees in such jobs typically have a longer tenure with the group than what typically is considered in the local labor market in Iceland. However the effects of Covid-19 are that in 2019 45% of the workforce had been working for the company for less than 3 years but now that proportion is down to 14%. Now there are 29% of the workforce that have been working for more than 20 years at the Company.

Employee tenure distribution 2020

Employee tenure distribution 2019

Employee turnover rates

The employee turnover rates vary across subsidiaries within the group with the overall rate for the group as a whole of 69%. This is directly linked to the effects of Covid-19 as the company has had to reduce the employee population by over 44%.

Employee turnover rates


rate for the group as a whole

Employees satisfaction

Icelandair Group measures its working environment and cultural alignment through annual workplace audits and audit 2020 showed that 59,0% of the employee population was both engaged and committed. This means that the attitude of the majority of the employees was positive both towards the daily job that they perform and towards the company that they work for. This critical element of the company culture is further supported with a high net employee promotion score of 34,7 out of 100 (comprised of percentage of promotors less percentage of detractors). These two important measures from the workplace audit both show and reinforce the efficacy and effectiveness of the People & Culture strategy.

Competense development

Icelandair Group has fostered and developed a capable and knowledgeable group of employees that possess valuable airline and aviation expertise and seeks to attract talented and qualified employees to ensure that the Company can meet and exceed its current and future operational challenges while ensuring and facilitating a good and progressive working culture in which the employees can both thrive and perform at their best.

Therefore, it is imperative that the employees of Icelandair Group have and display a growth mindset where they are both willing and able to learn and develop so both may gain. To that end, Icelandair Group's People & Culture has taken measures to supply its diverse employee groups with access to market leading learning and development material. By the same token, Icelandair Group upholds high safety and security standards and has in place detailed action plans designed to achieve these goals with mandatory training carried out for all employees working roles that are designated as part of aviation safety and work environment that is considered risk to occupational health and safety. All new employees go through a company orientation training which includes health and safety training when they commence their employment with the company.

However, training procedures within the company have changed a lot during the pandemic. With less opportunities to group employees together in training halls or classrooms, the Company has had to rely even more on online meeting tools and the online learning management system, Eloomi, to provide training.

Even though this has been challenging, it has also provided valuable experience and opened up different possibilities in training. In addition, it is possible to bring the employees and leaders, who are located in different parts of the world, closer together by using online training sessions that everyone can attend, wherever they are located.

The year 2020 was full of challenges and opportunities for the Training department

The challenge, Covid 19

We were able to more or less avoid using EASA general exemption for Flight and Crew Training. First class training facilities and equipment, and careful planning made it possible to train the crews throughout the year despite the Covid 19 pandemic. No training was canceled but by reducing number of students on each course on site, improve our distance learning, and adapting the training tasks all our crew were kept current.

Opportunities in technology and infrastructure

By approaching the challenges as opportunities we were able to transform training so it continued in spite of restrictions imposed by the Covid 19 pandemic. New solutions were introduced to conduct crew training, using distance learning tools mixed with classroom activities adapted to rules of social distancing.
The Training Department is experienced in supervising distance learning but new innovation was needed to ensure the variety and quality of the material. The increased effort to quickly adapt to new challenges has given valuable experience and rapid progress in planning and conducting training.

The future

The future is bright. We have high expectations for the expansion of the B737 MAX fleet. There are obvious advantages of having the B737 MAX simulator and cabin trainers on site.

The ability to train our crew on home base has not only reduced cost, but also increased the quality of training. Our passengers awareness that Icelandair crews are trained in state of the art facility builds trust which is an inseparable part of a safe and profitable airline operation.