Update: This is now official, with a letter posted on Primera Air’s website.
We’ve written extensively about Primera Air, which has launched transatlantic flights within the past few months. The airline has had an unusual growth strategy (which James wrote about in great detail in the post linked above), and they seem to just be throwing darts and seeing what sticks, as they’ve announced transatlantic flights between so many city pairs, despite their small size. They’ve also already canceled several routes.
Well, it looks like the airline was growing too quickly without proper financing, and it’s now being reported that Primera Air will be filing for bankruptcy (and ceasing operations) in the coming hours. This is according to a leaked email being circulated, which was written to employees by Primera Air’s Director of Flight Operations.
Here’s the letter, in its entirety:
It is with regret I am reaching out to you all this dark day. We have just been informed that both Primera Air Nordic and Primera Air Scandinavia will file for bankruptcy tomorrow October 2, 2018.
Currently flights are operating as normally and OCC, Crewing and Travel are working on arranging travel home for crews who happen to on outstations.
Reasons I am sure are many but very high cost for the aircrraft with corrosion last year as well as the delays of our new Airbuses lead to too high costs for wet lease and cancellations which in the end became too much for the airlines. Our owner was working on securing financing but was not able to in the end. This is what was stated during today’s staff meeting in the Riga office.
All the staff in the Riga office have been informed but official information will not be sent out until midnight by our owner. I understand it is difficult but please keep this to yourself if you can until after the official notification from the owner. In fact, I am not even authorized to send this email I think it is the right thing to do for all of you out there on the line. You deserve to know.
Unfortunately I can’t say I’m surprised here. With the pace at which the airline was growing they were surely in a cash bind. Not only have they struggled with their low yields and load factors, but they’ve also had serious issues with actually taking delivery of planes, which has wreaked havoc on their operations.
So many times we hear stories of how startup airlines are running out of cash, yet somehow they almost always seem to find a way to get new financing. This isn’t one of those cases… at least it’s not looking like it.
I suppose it’s possible they’ll somehow secure financing in the eleventh hour, though I wouldn’t count on it. If you’re scheduled to fly on Primera Air in the future, I’d recommend looking at other options.
Are you surprised to see Primera Air allegedly filing for bankruptcy?