WOW Air Ceases All Operations After Financial Struggles

WOW Air Ceases All Operations

Amidst all the chaos that has erupted recently in the aviation industry, it seems like more shake-up is going to follow. Wow Air, the Icelandic low-cost carrier that connected Europe and the United States has issued a travel alert with a bold headline consisting of 6 words:

End of Operation of WOW AIR

Skúli Mogensen established the ultra-low-cost carrier in 2011, with the plan to connect to Europe and later on, North America. WOW Air expanded quickly – the first few years seemed like the airline has a WOW factor to it and it would soon start competing with Icelandair. And WOW Air tried to – in 2015 it began flying to Baltimore International Airport in the United States, it expanded its fleet and destination number in Europe.

It seemed like everything went according to plan and WOW Air was wowed by their profits in 2016. However, since then the tide has turned. The ultra-low-cost carrier was experiencing financial difficulties since 2017 when the airline posted a total loss of $13.5 million.

In the first half of 2018, WOW Air posted a staggering loss of almost $48 million, signaling the first signs that the airline might not survive a winter that already claimed a few airlines, namely Germania and Flybmi.

Looking for help

As everybody saw that WOW Air is struggling for cash, the airline began looking for solutions to its problems. At first, a restructuring process began in December of 2018. The ultra-low-cost carrier reduced their fleet and unfortunately, fired hundreds of its employees. They also reduced the number of routes that WOW Air would operate, namely flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Delhi.

Talks began with Icelandair, where the former will purchase the airline and incorporate WOW Air’s aircraft and routes into its network. But talks broke down and Icelandair pulled out.

WOW Air’s management did not give up and began discussing with Indigo Partners. Indigo Partners is an equity firm which owns several low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers around the world. While at first there were positive signs for the Icelandic airline, the two parties hoped their talks will conclude by March 29th with a rescue package for WOW Air.

Yet again, talks broke down. Indigo Partners were not interested anymore. Nevertheless, WOW Air’s management tried again. They contacted Icelandair to redefine their previous conditions about a purchase. In the same way that Icelandair pulled out at the end of last November, it did so this March.

And that seemed to be the last straw. Today, on the wee hours of March 28th, 2019, WOW Air announced that it is ending all operations. The airline ceased their 8-year-old story with a sad ending.

If you're a WOW Air passenger looking to save your planned holidays, Icelandair runs many similar routes that WOW Air used to operate. See how Icelandair can help you out right here.

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