Last week, it all turned a bit less wow for
wow air! Wow air started flying back in 2012. Their
goal was to offer low cost flights from Europe to the USA and the other way around with a
stop-over in Iceland. So pretty much the same as Icelandair is doing at this moment! Last
year, Wow air operated a fleet of 21 airbus aircraft to 47 destinations and it was the
second biggest airline in Iceland. As you see here they mainly operated flights from
many American and Canadian cities like Toronto, New York and Boston. Via Iceland all the way
down to European cities like Paris, Brussels and London!
But in November last year the airline announced that they were in talks with Icelandair to
take over the entire Wow Air operation. By the end of November, they were forced to send
half of their fleet to storage because of financial difficulties. A couple of days later
Icelandair cancelled their possible take-over plans of Wow Air and Wow had to find another
investor to keep alive… The same day, indigo partners announced they
wanted to buy the struggling Wow Air. Due to that, Wow Air launched some major adjustments
to their operations, more aircraft were grounded, staff fired and routes closed…
In March 2019, Indigo Partners decided to not buy Wow Air and not that much later, Wow
Air had to cease operations, that was on the 28 of March.
So, what made Wow Air go Bankrupt? First of all, they were growing to fast, they
should have focused on profitable routes instead of launching 47 destinations to pretty much
everywhere. Secondly, they were one of the pioneer airlines to try the low-cost long-haul
model. Many airlines failed to make a profit with this business model. Just take a look
at Primera Air Nordic and Norwegian, which is also suffering major financial difficulties.
So, what are the consequences of the Wow Air failure?
The first ones who were affected by the bankruptcy were the more than 1000 Wow Air employees
and of course the passengers, who saw their flight cancelled out of nowhere. Lucky for
the last one, many airlines launched rescue fares to get the pax to their destination.
Icelandair is now the only international airline in Iceland and the only one who offers a stopover
in Iceland. They see the competition going bankrupt, what is a good case for them.
But it’s a bad case for Iceland, the forecast is that their GDP will drop by 3% and their
currency by 13% just because of the shut-down of Wow Air.
The ex-Wow Air aircraft are going back to the leasing company and will soon be introduced
in other airlines fleets. Some airlines will be very happy to see some unexpected extra
capacity coming in, certainly with the current grounding of the 737 MAX!
As a plane spotter, I will miss the livery of WOW Air. Although it may not be the most
beautiful livery in the airline industry, it is one of the more eye-catching liveries
which flew around…