On Thursday 5 February 2015, representatives from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust flew out on the inaugural flight from Birmingham Airport to Keflavik International Airport in Iceland with Icelandair.
Prior to take off at the departure gate, passengers heard speeches from the mayor of Birmingham, the CEO of Birmingham Airport and the President of Icelandair. We were then treated to celebratory cake accompanied by a string quartet from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a performance by our very own Shakespeare Aloud! actors.
After a swift costume change, we then flew to Reykjavik to take part in the Birmingham & Shakespeare’s England gala dinner the following evening.
Following a day of appointments with travel trade buyers from the US, Europe and Iceland, we were delighted to join just under 800 other guests for a thoroughly entertaining evening that showcased our region. The waiting staff all wore tops depicting local businesses including our red ‘Shakespeare Lives Here’ branded t-shirts. Tables were decorated with quills from the Birthplace gift shop which later doubled as head-dresses and fashion accessories for many of the guests! Our actors gave two performances during the dinner, both of which went down to rapturous applause and were definitely a highlight of the evening.
As well as providing direct flights between Birmingham and Iceland, this new connection opens up twice weekly indirect flights from ten new US and Canadian cities into our region. Icelandair operates from Denver, Washington DC, Halifax, Minneapolis, Orlando, Boston, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, and Anchorage as well as JFK and Newark in New York.
After a short stopover in Reykjavik and the chance to visit the nearby famous Blue Lagoon, Birmingham Airport is only another 2 hours 30 minutes away, so it's even easier for our friends across the pond to visit Shakespeare's England!