10/24/2012: WOW Air Acquires Rival Iceland Express
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10/24/2012: WOW Air Acquires Rival Iceland Express

DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW Air (WW) acquired rival Reykjavk-based low-fare airline Iceland Express (HC) in 2012.

WOW Air stressed that this was a takeover, not a merger, with WW purchasing HC’s route network, branding, and customer base. It also allowed the airline to gain access to ‘all knowledge and expertise accumulated by the company during its years of operation.’ 

By acquiring HC, WOW was able to rapidly expand its network. The airline immediately announced that frequencies would be increased on existing routes to London Gatwick (LGW) and Copenhagen (CPH). New routes to Berlin (SXF), Kaunas (KUN), Salzburg (SZG), and Warsaw (WAW) were also introduced.

WOW Air TF-GAY Airbus A330-343. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

A Tale Of Two Airlines


Iceland Express commenced operations on February 27, 2003. The carrier expanded steadily and flew to numerous destinations across Europe and North America. Flights were operated by British carrier Astraeus (5W) using Boeing 737-300/500 and 700s and Boeing 757-200s.

WOW was formed in November 2011 by Icelandic businessman Skuli Mogensen. Speaking at the time of the takeover, Mogensen said, “We are extremely happy with the acquisition…Iceland Express has been a pioneering low-fares airline in Iceland and was the country’s most punctual airline this summer.”

Mogensen added, “This acquisition will significantly boost Wow Air and ensure that we can continue to offer the lowest prices and excellent service. We will immediately be able to greatly increase our frequency to and from London and Copenhagen, and also provide more capacity and new destinations next summer.”

Sadly, rapid expansion led to growing financial difficulties for WW. The carrier announced it was to cease trading on March 28, 2019.


Featured image: An Iceland Express Boeing 737-700 operated by Astraeus. Photo: By Juergen Lehle – Own work (See also AlbSpotter Flugzeugbilder Aircraft Photos), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8899909

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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