WOW Air Cancels Dozens Of Flights After Icelandair Deal Falls Through

Trouble Icelandic carrier WOW Air is running out of options for future financing, after their last hope of investment pulls out. Icelandair have stated ‘all discussions have ended’, leaving WOW Air with no more buyers in the pipeline. With dozens of flights cancelled today and widespread concern that they’ve reached the end of the road, Simple Flying asks, what’s next for the struggling carrier?

wow air
Nobody wants to buy failing airline WOW Air. Photo: WOW Air

Despite a deal with Indigo Partners almost reaching the very end, the investor pulled out at the very last minute. As a result, Icelandair Group were back in the running to acquire the WOW Air. However, it seems these talks have also broken down, and Icelandair are no longer interested in a takeover deal.

On Sunday evening, the group announced:

“Icelandair Group has decided that its possible involvement in Wow Air’s operations, as announced on 20 March 2019, will not materialize. Therefore, all discussions between the parties have ended.”

With very few options remaining for the Icelandic carrier, what hope do they have of continuing into the future?

Why did Icelandair pull out?

It seems that, once again, no agreement could be reached between the two Iceland based companies. The same outcome happened last year, when Icelandair went as far as to sign a purchase agreement for WOW, but then abandoned it a few weeks later.

Icelandair WOW Air
Icelandair originally pulled out of a WOW Air acquisition in November. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Chief Executive of the Icelandair Group, Bogi Nils Bogason, commented further on the decision, saying:

“The financial position and operations are such that we did not see any reason to continue.”

This suggests that finances at WOW Air are possibly more dire than previously thought. With no buyers left on the table, the future of the company is looking fairly bleak.

What are WOW Air doing?

The company had already taken some steps to cut costs and reduce liabilities. They sold four of their A321s to Air Canada, liquidizing around $12m, and moved flights from the expensive Gatwick airport to the more affordable Stansted. They’ve even tried offering flights from the US to Iceland for as little as $45, but it seems that none of this is enough.

Now, they are endeavoring to restructure the company, including turning debts into equity and exploring other financing mechanisms.

In a statement on their website, WOW Air said:

“A majority of WOW air Bond Holders and other creditors of WOW air are in advance discussions with the aim of reaching an agreement on a voluntary restructuring including an agreement of converting current debt into equity and fund the company towards long term sustainability.”

The announcement has stated that more information will be given today. Simple Flying are keeping a close eye on proceedings to see what’s next for WOW.

Cancelled flights

Just this morning, WOW have begun to cancel dozens of flights, some at incredibly short notice. A 09:30 flight from Gatwick to Reykjavik was cancelled just hours before it was due to fly, and others have followed throughout the day.

WOW Air
Going to Iceland? Maybe not today. Photo: Airbus

The move has left many passengers stranded, with hordes of them taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations.


In all cases, WOW Air support gave the same reply:


According to the WOW Air website, at least 20 flights have so far been cancelled today. We await to hear what’s next for the struggling carrier.

5 comments
  1. I was so happy WOW flew to DFW but it was short lived. I hope we will get a low cost airline alternative to fly to Europe.

    1. There are low cost airlines between North America and Europe.
      Norwegian and Level are already operating transatlantic flights.
      Level has 2 bases yet, one in Paris and the other one in Barcelona.
      Norwegian operates from:
      Barcelona, Copenhagen, Fort Lauderdale, LA, JFK, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Stockholm…
      Without WOW, Norwegian should take over some market shares. And the arrival of the A321 LR will allow smaller routes to be profitable…

      And some new airlines start to pop up in many countries, interested in such a market. Swiss skies is a project for Transatlantic flights from Basel. And I believe that they’re not the only ones, and probably most of the big groups will invest in a low cost subsidiaries.

  2. Flights from the US to Europe for as little as $45 ? It is not even the price of a taxi fare from a city center to the airport…
    No wonder it is struggling.Where is the margin to make it function ?

  3. I stopped flying WOW air two years ago, when they left me and my then 6 years old daughter on the tarmac, due to overbooking. The staff was unfriendly, completely ignorant of the rules and unable, even unwilling to help. This is how you get the reputation to “have your lawyer read the fine print before booking” and a lot of upset customers looking for a better deal.

    A low price company like that relies on volume. With everyone climbing over each other to offer deals these days, you really don’t want to scare your customers away. How many times do you think I’ve told the story of how WOW air made my daughter cry (and the hair-pulling horror of trying to get the money for my fare back, not to mention my legally entitled compensation)? Many, many times, I can guarantee you that. Enough stories like that, and you go bust.

    There are certain other companies that need to sit up and take notice of this.

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