Icelandic low cost carrier WOW Air has added a ton of new routes to the US over the past few years. Their first US destination was Boston in March 2015, and since then they’ve added flights to Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Newark, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. In the spring of this year they plan on adding flights to Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas, and New York.
Up until now we’ve only seen growth from WOW Air. As far as I know they haven’t canceled a single route yet. That’s finally changing, as WOW Air will be canceling flights to Miami as of April 7, 2018. Here’s what a WOW Air executive told USA Today about the decision:
“We are continuously evaluating what our customers want and adjusting the routes, as needed,” Svana Fridriksdottir, VP of Communications for WOW Air, said in a statement provided to USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog. “Service from Miami will be paused starting in April, with the possibility of becoming a seasonal route in the future.”
WOW Air launched this route on April 5, 2017, meaning that it will be canceled just a bit over a year after it started. WOW Air has flown this route three times weekly with an Airbus A330, using the following schedule:
WW131 Reykjavik to Miami departing 6:30PM arriving 10:30PM
WW132 Miami to Reykjavik departing 4:30PM arriving 4:05AM (+1 day)
As you can see, the aircraft utilization for this route is pretty bad, as the plane sits on the ground in Miami for 18 hours. That’s because WOW Air’s business model is based around using Reykjavik as a connecting point between points in North America and points in Europe, so what they care about most are efficient connecting times in Iceland, even if it otherwise translates into bad aircraft utilization.
I suspect that’s also part of what made this route unsustainable. If WOW Air could have operated an A321 on a direct turn I imagine this route might have worked, but due to the distance this route required an A330, which has about 340 seats. I suspect they had a hard time filling those seats, so between flights not being full and the this route requiring the plane to sit on the ground for so long in Miami (and planes don’t make any money sitting on the ground), they just couldn’t make it work.
It will be interesting to see what route they put the A330 on instead. I’m also curious if we see any more route cuts from WOW Air, or if this was the only US route that’s performing so poorly.
Are you surprised to see WOW Air cut service to Miami?