Update: WOW Air has ceased operations, and all flights have been canceled. Icelandair is offering discounted tickets to passengers stranded by WOW.
Things are looking even worse for WOW Air than they were looking last night, if that’s possible.
Last night we learned that WOW Air is basically out of options. The airline needs money, and over the past several months has tried to reach a deal with Icelandair twice, as well as a deal with Indigo Partners. All three of those attempted negotiations fell through, because apparently WOW Air is in such bad shape. The airline has so much debt and few assets.
While I don’t like to predict doom and make a situation worse than it is, I figure at this point WOW Air has at most days, unless some investors swoop in and do something now. But given the deals that haven’t materialized until now, that seems highly unlikely.
While WOW Air is still operating, they’ve started canceling some flights. For example, if you look at WOW Air’s arrivals & departures page:
- On March 25, flights to/from London are canceled, as well as charter flights from Miami to both Havana and Holguin
- On March 26, flights to/from Brussels
The page actually lists a lot more cancelations than that, though many of the listed cancelations are for flights they’ve canceled long ago. I imagine the number of cancelations is potentially going to be increasing.
What’s going on? Well, apparently one of WOW Air’s A321s, TF-PRO, was repossessed in Montreal last night, due to lack of payments. The airline has subsequently sent TF-DOG to Montreal to operate the flight. That plane is now there, but also hasn’t departed.
Personally I’d highly recommend against booking WOW Air flights at this point, and if you are booked on them in the coming days, keep a close eye on the flight status to see if the flight cancels.
That might not even be enough, though, because the airline is also canceling flights with virtually no notice, so you may find yourself stuck in Iceland, or showing up to the airport for a flight that’s not actually operating.
It’s sad to see the ultra low cost transatlantic model slowly collapse. At the same time, the business model never seemed sustainable to begin with. I of course feel bad for all airline employees who have lost jobs, as they’re the biggest losers in all of this, having worked hard to make these airlines successful.
In my opinion there has been a certain arrogance among management at some of these airlines. Maybe it’s just largely the confidence associated with so many startups nowadays, but WOW Air’s CEO has always struck me as being way over confident in terms of the carrier’s business model. It’s also interesting that WOW Air’s press page has a total of four pictures, and all of them are of the CEO. I’m just saying…