The revamped and revived WOW air, or WOW 2, could take flight as soon as in two weeks’ time. US Aerospace Associates, led by entrepreneur Michele Ballarin, have reportedly completed all the necessary steps to get the rescued airline off the ground again, and have confirmed mid-October as a start date for flights between Keflavik in Iceland and Washington Dulles Airport.
According to reporting by Icelandic news agency BusinessMoggen, WOW 2 is set to launch in the next couple of weeks. Apparently this is later than the new owners would have liked, and is due to delays in getting set up. Nevertheless, the revived airline is almost ready to begin selling tickets, with its first transatlantic route reportedly heading to Washington Dulles.
Reports suggest that work has been completed both sides of the Atlantic to induct the new airline, which we only know simply as WOW 2 right now. US investors bought the remaining assets of WOW air back in September, and now have the planes, uniforms, operating licenses and slots to begin operations in mid-October.
Meet the new owner
US Aerospace Associates are the company that purchased what was left of WOW, led by chairperson Michele Ballarin, also referred to as Michele Roosevelt Edwards. At the start of September, Ballarin paid a reported ISK 50m ($404,000) for all the assets of the WOW brand, according to Visir.
This included the purple uniforms, the website, booking tools, aircraft manuals, spare parts and consumables. In fact, all she didn’t buy were the planes themselves. WOW Air (the original) did not, in fact, have any planes of its own, leasing everything it flew and returning the leased planes at the point of bankruptcy.
But, of course, an airline is more than just the aircraft it flies. Ballarin is banking on all the hard work of setting up an airline being mostly done already, with just the planes, crew and AOCs to find. Aside of the ISK 50m used to purchase WOW’s assets, she has indicated that she’s secured a sizeable bankroll to resurrect the airline too.
At a meeting in Reykjavik in early September, Ballarin told press that she’d secured $85m in financing, as well as the planes to begin operations. She commented,
“It doesn’t take that much money to resurrect an airline. Keep in mind that we’re not starting from scratch, “
The flights are planned to launch with just two aircraft, flying from Keflavik to Washington Dulles.
Seasonal increases in passenger flights
According to Fréttablaðið, WOW 2, as Ballarin affectionately calls the airline, will be gearing up for a massive increase in flights over the summer season. The quieter winter period, she says, will allow the new airline some time to find its feet and to do some growth, setting them up to operate more flights heading into the busy summer season.
As well as passenger flights, the new management of the company are putting great emphasis on the importance of freight operations too. Ballarin says that the fresh Icelandic seafood is highly valuable in the US, and is betting big on this keeping her new airline profitable. At a press conference in Reykjavik, Ballarin is quoted by Fréttablaðið as saying,
“WOW air’s revived operations are of great importance to the public in Iceland as well as the United States, and will strengthen both cultural and business relations between Reykjavik and Washington. We plan to increase the number of passenger flights with more aircraft before the summer greets us. From the first day of freight transport, which will also begin in the coming weeks, we will take great pride in the high-quality transportation of fresh Icelandic seafood to the US market. ”
Perhaps this new focus on freight transportation will make the difference to the profitability of the low cost airline. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.