WOW Air Could Have A Replacement By Fall

Just when you thought you’d seen the last of WOW Air, Iceland is back. Former directors along with an Irish investment firm are determined to re-launch a low cost airline, and are targeting a commencement of operations by the autumn. And the name of this airline? WAB, standing for We Are Back.

WOW air Airbus A330
A WOW Air A330. Photo: Wikimedia.

From the ashes that was WOW Air, a new airline could rise again, as two of WOW’s former directors are working on a plan for a new, low fare airline. Reported by Icelandic news outlet Fréttablaðið, the venture will require a sizable investment, starting with almost €67m split between a loan and investment capital.

If all goes to plan, the airline, dubbed WAB (We Are Back) could start operations as soon as this autumn. It’s already applying for an AOC and is optimistically predicting employing a workforce of 500 within 12 months.

Guess who’s back?

Ever since WOW Air shut its doors in March, rumors have been circulating about a relaunch of a similar venture. Interestingly, it’s not former WOW Air CEO Skúli Mogensen who has kicked off this latest round of revival. Leading the charge appears to be two former directors; Arnar Már Magnússon, former managing director of operations for WOW Air and Sveinn Ingi Steinþórsson, from WOW Air’s finance department, and who was also on their board.

Skuli Mogensen
Skuli Mogensen is not involved this time. Photo: WOW Air

The plans outlined in the Icelandic press demonstrate that the airline will again have a low cost focus. It would initially fly six aircraft, serving 14 destinations in Europe and North America. The consortium (optimistically) predict that by the end of 12 months, they would employ 500 people and generate revenue to the tune of around $160m.

And the name of this new airline? Right now, it’s being called WAB, which stands for We Are Back. Whether it will retain the iconic purple livery of former WOW Air remains to be seen (as does its choice of aircraft) but for now We Are Back is little more than a paper airline.

Will WAB sport to characteristic purple of WOW? Photo: Airbus

In reality, the WAB name will probably not be carried forward. Much like David Neeleman’s Moxy, the name is simply a placeholder to allow for investment, with the actual name being unveiled later on. Personally, I think We Are Back would be an awesome choice, proving once and for all that you can’t keep a good Icelander down.

A €31m bank loan

In order to get this new venture off the ground, the consortium has apparently approached at least two banks in Iceland to request a one year loan of €31m ($35m). It’s unclear at this time whether the loan has been agreed.

As well as this, Avianta Capital, an Irish investment fund (coincidentally owned by Ryanair founder Kell Ryan’s daughter) will be funding the airline with €35.6m ($40m) of startup capital. In return for their investment, Avianta will own 75% of the airline.

The remaining 25% will be owned by a company called Neo, which is the property of Magnússon and Steinþórsson, along with two other investors. According to reports, the airline is already in the process of applying for an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and is planning to commence operations this autumn.

Do you think a new WOW Air would find space in the international marketplace again? Let us know in the comments.

Want aviation news stories delivered to your smartphone as they happen? Download our app for iOS and Android today, and get instant notifications of the most important stories.