Monday 14 October 2019

WOW Air has ceased operation - cancelling all flights with immediate effect

Thousands of passengers stranded as heavily-indebted Icelandic carrier fails to find backer

WOW air
WOW air
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

WOW Air has ceased operation, cancelling all flights with immediate effect.

Thousands of passengers are reportedly left stranded in Europe and the US as a result, with affected routes including a popular Dublin-Keflavík service.

The heavily indebted airline had been seeking a backer, but talks with potential investors including IcelandAir were ultimately unsuccessful.

"WOW air has ceased operation. All WOW air flights have been cancelled," it announced in a statement posted on its website.

Earlier this morning, WOW's flight schedule was postponed as a last ditch effort to raise equity with a group of investors appeared to have been underway.

In its latest communication, however, the airline has advised passengers that have booked with it to "check available flights with other airlines".

"Some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate - so-called rescue fares - in light of the circumstances. Information on those airlines will be published, when it becomes available," WOW said.

Aer Lingus says it will offer rescue fares from Ireland to the US or Canada for customers booked to fly with WOW up to April 11 (call 1890 800 600 after 18.30 on March 28), while Norwegian will offer "repatriation fares" from tomorrow, set at a 25pc discount off net economy fares, for example.

Ireland's Commission for Aviation Regulation has advised passengers to contact their debit or credit card providers to avail of chargeback facilities.

"If you did not purchase your ticket as part of a package, you are advised to self-repatriate by booking directly with other airlines," it added.

Those affected are also being advised to contact their travel insurance provider, or their travel agent or tour operator if they booked through an agent.

"Passengers may also be entitled to compensation from WOW air, including in accordance with European regulations on Air Passenger Rights," the airline says. "In case of a bankruptcy, claims should be filed to the administrator / liquidator."

WOW air was founded in 2012 by Icelandic entrepreneur Skúli Mogensen, and sought to disrupt air travel with its unbundled services and low-cost fares.

It began flying between Ireland and Iceland in June 2015, providing direct flights between the two countries for as little as €39.99 each way.

WOW rapidly expanded as a 'disruptor' thereafter - offering several, budget-friendly one-stop routes to North America via its hub in Keflavík, near Reyjavík.

For a brief period, the airline also operated from Cork Airport, but suspended the short-lived service there due to low demand.

Aviation has proved a tough business in recent years, with Air Berlin, Primera, Germania, Monarch and Cobalt also collapsing.

Now, they are joined by the Icelandic carrier.

"End of Operation of WOW air," the airline's website states.

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