Iceland Airline Wow Air Ceases All Operations
Iceland’s budget airline Wow Air has ceased its operations due to financial crunches. On its website, wowair.com, the airline displays a travel alert for the passengers who have booked tickets asking them to approach other airlines for their travel needs. Wow Air specified that the passengers could make use of the reduced rates offered by its competitors (so-called rescue fares) to book their new tickets. In the light of the circumstances, many airlines have announced rescue fares for passengers who have earlier reserved tickets with Wow Air. It has also asked the passengers who booked tickets through agents to get their money back or to arrange alternative flights. A few passengers may be eligible to receive the refunds from the airline itself. Although there is no accurate information of the count of passengers who are in transit via Wow Air, it is estimated that there are around 1300 of them. In total, about 4000 passengers are stranded. Hundreds of passengers were left without planes to board as Wow Air flights cancelled. Founded in 2012, Wow Air focused on providing low-cost travel services to people. The airline charged for amenities such as baggage, seat selection, extra leg room, etc. A trip from the U.S. to Europe in Wow Air used to cost around $200 or less. However, the poor customer reviews for frequent flight delays, rising fuel costs, drop in tourist count to Iceland, etc. made the profitability low for the airline. It also had competitions from other low-cost flights. Wow Air had been in search of investors for months. There was news of its competitor Icelandair acquiring stakes in Wow Air, but the proposal was not finalised. “This is probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but the reality is that we have run out of time and have unfortunately not been able to secure the funding of the company,” News 18 quoted WOW CEO and founder Skuli Mogensen. He reportedly sent a letter to its employees. “I will never be able to forgive myself for not taking action sooner,” he said. Wow Air had both short and long-haul services between Iceland, Europe and North America. Wow Air had 1000 employees in 2018, and it carried around 3.5 million passengers in its 11 aircraft during the year. Besides Wow Air, 2018 saw the fall of 10 low-cost airlines, including Belgium’s VLM Airlines, Denmark’s Primera Air and Cyprus’ Cobalt Air.
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