Icelandic low cost, long haul carrier, WOW Air, has launched flights to New Delhi commencing at the end of last week. With their ultra-low fare pricing strategy, they are offering never before seen cheap flights between Europe, North America and India via their hub in Iceland (KEF).
A first for any international airline operating out of India, WOW Air actually recruited Indian ground staff and crew to work on these flights. The flight will run three times per week and will be served by WOW Air’s only remaining A330, having had to return many of them due to financial struggles.
Managing Director of WOW Air, Kiran Jain, said,
“We are excited to commence operations from New Delhi. The response we have received from India has been overwhelming and we hope to continue this trend going forward. The ultra-low fares reflect the need for affordable travel from India to transatlantic destinations. It also gives an opportunity for Iceland to open up to the world and as a tourist destination to Indian travellers.”
According to WOW’s travel planner, the cost of flights from Reykjavik to New Delhi start from £273 / $343 each way. With convenient connections from the US and various European locations, their offer is a highly competitive price for a flight between India and many destinations in the west.
Connecting flights to the US are even more competitively priced, with routes from Boston to New Delhi available from $339.99 and up. For West Coast cities, San Francisco prices are coming up at $409.
Despite the lack of frills provided by the airline, travelling WOW does come with some advantages. For a start, there’s always the option for a stopover in Iceland, with the airline offering up to 48 hours on the northern island on most round trip flights.
But why WOW?
We’ve been speculating for some time that the Icelandic aviation industry might be in trouble, and specifically that WOW Air were unlikely to survive the winter. So, why invest in new routes and new crew to man them when the airline is clearly in financial difficulties?
They’re not averse to launching new routes and then promptly cancelling them in the space of just a few months, but this doesn’t seem like the best way to run a business. Surely, if you want to see how strong a market is, there are cheaper ways of conducting market research, right?
They must have an inkling that a dirt cheap connection between Delhi and the West is going to prove popular, even if it is a gruelling flight with a budget carrier. We’ll be interested to see just how popular the route proves to be, and whether it turns out to be the financial angel WOW so desperately need, or the final nail in their coffin.