Icelandic low cost carrier WOW Air redefined transatlantic travel. Offering an appealing stopover on the island and super low transatlantic fares, it did very well for itself for some years. However, it could not weather the storm of high fuel prices and closed its doors abruptly in March this year. We take a look at what’s happened to WOW’s fleet of aircraft since the airline ceased trading.
The WOW Air fleet of aircraft
According to Planespotters, WOW had, at its peak, a fleet of 23 aircraft. These were divided between the A320, of which they had six, the A321 which numbered 14 and three A330 widebody jets.
Of the six A320s, five were the A320-200, and one was an A320neo. Of the A321s, 12 were the A321-200 and just two were the neo variants. The three widebodies were all A330-300s.
Since the carrier went bankrupt on the 28th March this year, all those planes have found new homes. So, where are they now?
Let’s begin with the fleet of A320 aircraft. WOW had five A320ceo aircraft, two of which were delivered in 2012 with the other three arriving in 2015. The two 2012 A320s were rather old when they were delivered, being first operated in 1993 and 1994. Both had been through several owners before arriving at WOW.
LY-VEY worked for most of its life for Gulf Air, and didn’t stay with WOW for long. In December 2012, it left WOW and had brief stints flying for Smartwings and Vueling before being scrapped in 2015.
LY-COS flew for a staggering 10 airlines before arriving at WOW, and after leaving in late 2012, went on to fly mainly in Lithuania. One of the airlines it operated for was Small Planet Airlines, which also went into administration late last year. It was most recently noted as being in service for Lithuanian ACMI and charter specialist GetJet Airlines.
Of the newer aircraft that WOW incorporated, all three were leased. TF-WOW, TF-SIS and TF-BRO all arrived in 2013, aged between three and seven years old. TF-WOW was the oldest, at seven years of age, and has gone on to fly for IndiGo for three years. In June this year, ownership transferred to Balkan Holidays Air (BH Air) where it is shown to be still in active service.
TF-SIS and TF-BRO were both delivered aged just three years, and both were returned to the lessor Avolon when WOW closed down. Both have since been leased by Spirit Airlines in the US, and will be delivered to their new homes in the next few weeks.
The one A320neo that WOW operated, registered somewhat predictably as TF-NEO, was one of only a few aircraft WOW received brand new. Arriving in 2017, it was withdrawn from use on the 17th March 2019 and stored in Ljubljana until the 21st May.
However, this neo is now being put to good use working for Indian airline Vistara, no doubt picking up some of the trade made available by the departure of Jet Airways. Interestingly Vistara, despite being a full-service airline, has put this aircraft into service in its existing all-economy configuration. The airline has indicated that it may reconfigure it in the future but, for now, this particular plane, registered VT-TNN, will not offer a premium product.
The A321 started arriving at WOW in 2015, with more arriving at increasing rates over the next three years. Of the A321ceos, two are yet to find new homes. Both TF-NOW and TF-PRO were seized by the lessor on 24th March 2019 in Montreal and Miami, and have been stored in Toulouse since then.
Of the other 10 A321ceo aircraft, eight of these have been subsequently sold to Air Canada Rouge. Four of these disappeared from Iceland long before WOW went under, in January 2019.
The final two have, however, remained in Europe. One, previously TF-GPA, is now leased to Thomas Cook Airlines as G-TCDS, with delivery imminent. The other, previously TF-GMA, is now registered D-AIAI and is operating for Condor in Germany.
The two A321neos were, again, delivered to WOW brand new. TF-SKY arrived in 2017 and TF-LOV in 2018. As both were leased, they were withdrawn from use and stored following WOW’s collapse. However, both have now found new homes with Turkish LCC Onur Air.
WOW Air operated three A330-300s, which arrived at the airline in June, October and November 2016. However, none were brand new. TF-GAY previously operated for Singapore Airlines, and both TF-LUV and TF-WOW flew for Air Europa before arriving in Iceland.
Following the closure of WOW, all three went back to their lessors, TF-GAY to ICBC and the other two to Avolon. Avolon found a new customer in the form of Turkish Airlines for their two A330s delivering them in May and June as TC-LOJ and TC-LOK respectively. It seems Turkish like the ex-WOW A330s a great deal, as they have also signed up for TF-GAY, which will be delivered as TC-LOL imminently.
Aside of the A330-300s, WOW had on order a shiny new A330-900neo which was planned to be leased from Avolon. As this was never delivered, it is a trickier one to track down. However, we do know that it was planned to be registered as TF-BIG by WOW. According to Planespotters, nothing has happened to the aircraft as yet. It’s still sitting in Toulouse waiting for an owner, of which there are a plethora of potential customers.
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) January 15, 2019
Do you miss WOW Air’s purple planes? Do you think there’s room for a LCC revival in Iceland? Let us know in the comments.