WOW air has officially ceased operation and all WOW air flights have been cancelled. The low budget airline operated 11 aircraft out of Reykjavík.
Last Tuesday, WOW air bond owners accepted to convert their claims to company stock. Creditors had therefore essentially taken over the company, and Skúli Mogensen, founder and CEO, was no longer the sole owner of the company.
Yesterday, it was announced that the company was looking for potential investors to invest ISK 5 billion ($40.9m/€36.4m) so that WOW air could continue operating. It is now clear that the funding was not secured in time.
All WOW air aircraft have been grounded. The last WOW air flight to land was WW121, which landed in Detroit earlier today, arriving from Reykjavík.
Many passengers have been left stranded, both in WOW air destinations in North America as well as in Canada.
WOW air had found itself in financial troubles in recent times. Alarm bells rang as WOW air announced a loss of ISK 4.8 billion ($42.7m/€36.6m) in the 12-month period between July 2017 and July 2018.
The airline was founded in 2011 and grew quickly in size and scope. In their inaugural year, 110,000 passengers flew with WOW air, with that number increasing to 415,000 in 2013. That number had quadrupled in 2016, as WOW transported 1,669,000 passengers – but the biggest jump had yet to appear. Between 2016 and 2017, WOW air increased its passenger number by 69% to 2,800,000 passengers. It was inevitable that such rapid growth would have some repercussions.
Iceland Review magazine covered the financial status of the two Icelandic airlines WOW air and Icelandair in November 2018. Previously, Icelandic owned low budget airline Primera Air had declared bankruptcy.
In Focus: Up in the air. WOW air and Icelandair’s status: – https://www.icelandreview.com/news/air/
More to follow.
Below is the official statement on WOW air’s website in whole:
End of Operation of WOW AIR
Information for WOW AIR passengers
WOW AIR has ceased operation. All WOW AIR flights have been cancelled.
How will I reach my destination?
Passengers are advised 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.
What are my rights?
Passengers whose ticket was paid with a credit card are advised to contact their credit card company to check whether a refund of the ticket cost will be issued.
Passengers who bought their ticket from a European travel agent (within the European Economic Area) as a part of a package tour (a package which includes flights and accommodation or other services) are protected by the Package Travel Directive. Those passengers are advised to contact their travel agent to arrange an alternative flight.
Passengers who may have bought travel protection, or those passengers whose credit card terms may include such protection, may be entitled to claim compensation and assistance due to delays or travel disruption. However, such compensation is often limited.
Passengers may also be entitled to compensation from WOW AIR, including in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights. In case of a bankruptcy, claims should be filed to the administrator / liquidator.
Where can I get up-to-date information?
This announcement will be published and continuously updated on the following websites:
– Icelandic Transport Authority: www.samgongustofa.is / www.icetra.is
– Keflavik Airport: www.isavia.is/en
– WOW AIR: www.wowair.com
– Posted at all relevant airports
General information about passenger rights can be found atwww.icetra.is
Below is a statement sent to all WOW air staff from Skúli Mogensen, CEO and founder, earlier this morning:
I never ever thought it would come to this but we are forced to cease operations and return our Aircraft Operating Certificate. This is probably the hardest thing I have ever done but the reality is that we have run out of time and have unfortunately not been able to secure the funding of the company.
You have all worked so hard for so long and I am incredibly proud of all our achievements over the years and not least how the entire team has stood together this winter through the restructuring and getting us back into the Low Cost Airline mode that served us so well during our first years. We got the original WOW spirit back! I will never be able to forgive myself for not taking action sooner since it is evident that WOW was an amazing airline and we where on the right track to do great things again. I wish we had more time and could do more since all of you deserve so much better and I am deeply sorry to put you in this position. No matter what will be said I will always be grateful for working with such a fantastic team and I sincerely hope we can remember our achievements as we pioneered the Low Cost Long Haul Airline Industry and built an amazing brand in record time. This in itself is no small achievement that you should all be proud of.
I want to thank our passengers who stood by us from day one, our partners around the world and not least all relevant authorities. We all tried our best to the very end. Most of all I want to thank you my dear friends for the most amazing journey of my life time. We will always be WOW and I will never forget you. I hope and trust you will never forget the WOW spirit and will carry it with you to your next adventure. Thank you
Með kveðju / Best Regards