LONDON – The aviation industry has just unveiled its next victim into bankruptcy as WOW Air officially ceased operations today.
This is the third carrier of the year, after Germania and flybmi, offering an airline collapse once a month on average.
Its statement didn’t say much, other than for passengers are advised to check available flights with other airlines.
Carriers around Europe who operate to the likes of Keflavik are operating rescue fares.
The details also gave information about passenger rights.
“Passengers whose ticket was paid with a credit card are advised to contact their credit card company to check whether a refund of the ticket cost will be issued.”
“Passengers who bought their ticket from a European travel agent (within the European Economic Area) as a part of a package tour (a package which includes flights and accommodation or other services) are protected by the Package Travel Directive. Those passengers are advised to contact their travel agent to arrange an alternative flight.”
“Passengers who may have bought travel protection, or those passengers whose credit card terms may include such protection, may be entitled to claim compensation and assistance due to delays or travel disruption. However, such compensation is often limited.”
“Passengers may also be entitled to compensation from WOW AIR, including in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights. In case of a bankruptcy, claims should be filed to the administrator/liquidator.”
The airline’s financial difficulties came to rise in November 2018 when it had announced that negotiations with Icelandair were in affect.
A deal was reportedly reached but subsequently fell through as a result, with a letter then released to bondholders showing the negative future and current position.
A month later saw the airline announce a restructuring plan, in which half of its fleet would be returned to lessors and additional routes would be cut as a result.
In that same month, the carrier announced it was undergoing talks with Indigo Partners, which has shares in U.S carrier Frontier for a takeover.
As 2019 entered, the airline managed to stay afloat but matters were made worse when re-possession globally started to happen.
An Airbus A321 had been repossessed in Montreal following the poor financial situation of the carrier.
In the same week, there was supposed hope as it was announced that bondholders agreed to convert the airline’s debt into equity with the banks. But even then, in the volatility of the aviation industry, this was not enough, with the carrier suspending operations at 0900L.
Icelandair, Norwegian and easyJet are the three carriers up to now who have offered such rescue fares for passengers that have been stranded in Iceland and also globally.
Icelandair will provide discounted fares to and from the following cities:
- London – Gatwick & Heathrow
- North America:
- New York – Newark & JFK
- Washington DC
Flat rates for the European destinations will be at 60 USD with the US/Canadian legs being offered at 100 USD.
easyJet will be offering rescue fares on flights between London Luton and Keflavik as well as London Gatwick and Keflavik also at £110 for the rescue fees. It is only valid on or before April 14, with the ticket issuance date before or on the April 7.
The airline is also working on flights between London Stansted and Keflavik also.
Finally, Norwegian is offering rescue fares of 25% off current economy fares for travel until April 8 on the following sectors:
- London Gatwick-Boston
- London Gatwick-New York JFK
- Paris Charles de Gaulle-New York JFK
- Paris Charles de Gaulle-New York JFK
- Copenhagen-New York JFK
- Amsterdam-New York JFK
Passengers who were due to use services on offer by WOW will now have to find the best deal for them and get back to their origins through the three carriers.
It is not clear how many jobs are going to be lost from this collapse, but it remains clear, that yet again, the aviation industry will only host the stronger airlines, with this trend becoming the norm as the rest of the year goes on.