WOW Air Pilots Blame Journalists For Airline Collapse

Filed Under: Media, WOW Air

Earlier today WOW Air formally ceased operations. The people I feel worst for are the employees who lost their jobs as a result of this. There were a lot of people working hard to make the airline great, it’s just too bad they were let down by their management team.

However, I sure feel like WOW Air pilots might be misdirecting their anger here.

WOW Air pilots want journalists investigated

The Reykjavik Grapevine is reporting that WOW Air’s pilots union, the Icelandic Pilots Union, is demanding that the Icelandic Journalist Union investigate the coverage of WOW Air’s financial hardships. Specifically, they want it investigated whether journalists were being given favors or special rewards from other airlines in exchange for the negative coverage of WOW Air.

The chairman of journalists union responded to these allegations as follows:

“I understand that WOW Air employees are worried about their jobs, but to attribute part of the company’s operational difficulties to the reporting of journalists is like going to a goat house in search of wool.”


WOW Air has benefited hugely from positive coverage

I’d say WOW Air benefited hugely from positive media coverage over the years. For one, the airline has offered comped trips to media, so it’s ironic that they’re asking if competitors have done the same.

More importantly, though, for years I saw tons of positive coverage about WOW Air. Heck, I’ve written about their new routes constantly given their great fares (with the caveat that they were an ultra low cost carrier, and charge for everything).

That doesn’t change that the airline became a mess

But there’s no denying that over the past six months this airline has turned into a basket case. The airline has never been profitable, and while I guess their plan was to be acquired, I think they overplayed their hand and waited too long, because last year we reached a point where European airlines started struggling to get financing, given that several airlines collapsed.

Furthermore, starting around six months ago, the carrier’s operations took a nosedive, and they lost the trust of the public. The airline started to cancel and add routes sporadically, and lost the operational reliability they had. Then they quickly entered the India market and pulled out, got rid of their A330s, and desperately started looking for financing.

Sorry, pilots, I feel awful you lost your jobs, but blame Skuli for this…

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. Maybe Wow Air should have done more press junkets, like Marriott Bonvoy’s junket in two weeks to Hong Kong. I can’t wait to see who writes about Marriott and Hong Kong. We’ll all know who is officially on the take.

  2. Oh please, if giving free flights for the press was illegal than 98% of airlines are guilty. The press was doing its job warning the public from the state of the airline which was 100% correct.

  3. Is there no hope of someone buying them out at this point? They’re officially done and will just sell planes? Shame it will create upward pressure on flights to Europe now.

  4. As for WOW… sad! Mismanagement. Encouraged by banks to expand in the way that it did. Yes, local journalists probably played a part over the past few months….so perhaps there is a little truth there.

    Iceland has a ton of cash, so Im sure unemployment pays 100% of wages …lol (look at Italy – they pay 80%).

    @FNT Delta Diamond. – We ALL know exactly which two bloggers will be there front and center. Both love the limelight, and suffer from Cluster B personality disorder. One site has become unreadable and the other blogger, I just cant with him. Honestly TPG is an absolute insult to ones intelligence!…ghastly site.

    After reading Ben’s post yesterday, makes me appreciate OMAAT even more.

  5. @Debit There is no evidence that the press was getting perks to negatively cover WOW. They went out of business because they had a business model that was never going to turn a profit.

  6. “I understand that WOW Air employees are worried about their jobs, but to attribute part of the company’s operational difficulties to the reporting of journalists is like going to a goat house in search of wool.”

    Cashmere and mohair come from goats.

  7. Of course the pilots will blame everyone else other than the ones responsible for the airlines collapse.

  8. Sad to see that the WOW staff are out of a job but this is funny. So the press is the reason that WOW could not get the financing it needed and not rising fuel costs or the fact that when you start adding the extras they were not a real value?
    Again I feel for the staff but their ULCC North America business model was flawed from the get go. Worried about Norwegian now.

  9. Actually, WOW Air made a profit of 12 million in 2015 and 36 million in 2016, the only 2 years it was profitable since its maiden flight in May 2012 to Paris. It lost 22 million in 2017 and is reported to have lost about 160 million on 2018!

  10. Report:

    “In a sign that Wow’s failure could have wide-ranging implications for Iceland’s economy, a government task force’s analysis published late last year found that, were Wow to collapse, it could trigger a 3% contraction in GDP for the Icelandic economy, as well as a steep drop in the Krona that would cause inflation to climb by as much as 6%. Meanwhile, exports could drop by 10%. The study had been ordered to examine the risks from a slowing tourism industry.”

    After slowly contracting for the last year or so it looks like the Icelandic tourism bubble just popped.

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