WOW Air, the Icelandic airline that liquidated last year, will soon become a “worldwide” cargo airline based in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Yep, you ready that right… or something.
Some background on WOW Air
For a bit of background, Iceland-based WOW Air ceased operations in March 2019. Shortly thereafter the rights to the company were purchased, and the airline was supposed to make a comeback. The person behind this is a West Virginia businesswoman, Michele Ballarin, who is otherwise best known for negotiating with pirates and warlords.
She recognized the original WOW Air wasn’t profitable, but had a plan to make changes to make the new airline work. How? By investing in the passenger experience (as ultra low cost carriers do), including:
- Having a lounge for all passengers
- Working with a Michelin chef to bring better nutrition on planes
- Having biometric boarding
Beyond that, the way they’ve gone about relaunching is odd:
- WOW Air was supposed to commence passenger operations in October 2019 (you know, right ahead of that peak winter travel season to Iceland)
- In late October 2019 the airline instead planned to launch as a cargo airline, carrying freight between Washington and Iceland
- The airline is working on a cafe in Washington (“WOW Air & Cafe”), because, you know, ultra low cost carriers need in-person sales offices
- In February 2020 the airline was supposed to launch WOW Air Italy, whatever that is
Say hello to West Virginia’s new cargo airline
Understandably this isn’t a great time to launch a new airline, but WOW Air has a new plan… again. Yesterday WOW Air announced on Facebook that they’d become a cargo airline based in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Here’s the full announcement:
WOW Worldwide Cargo Hub Launches operations in Martinsburg, West Virginia [MRB]
WOW carGO is proud to announce the commencement of worldwide cargo operations from its US base in the capital region on the East Coast at Martinsburg. The facility is 100,000 SF of hangar and warehouse with 25,000 SF of administrative offices for global dispatch operations.
We are WOW!
Yes WOW Air, you really are “wow.”
Frankly nothing about WOW Air has made sense since the original version of the airline liquidated last year. I can totally appreciate that at this point launching as a cargo airline is probably the best bet, but I’m scratching my head about the base in West Virginia, the 100,000 square foot hangar and warehouse, and the 25,000 square foot administrative offices for “global dispatch operations.”
I get Ballarin’s connection to West Virginia, but…
(Tip of the hat to Jason)