Low fares airline WOW Air has ceased operations and all flights have been cancelled ruining the travel plans for thousands of passengers. The cash-strapped Icelandic airline had already cancelled flights pending talks with investors, but just hours later abruptly announced its closure today.
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The company’s website says “passengers are advised to check available flights with other airlines” and to look for those offering so-called “rescue” fares.
Rival airline Icelandair had been in talks with WOW about a rescue deal but this fell through for a second time. The airline announced on Sunday that “its possible involvement with Wow Air’s operations, as announced on 20 March 2019, will not materialise”.
Chief executive of Icelandair Group Bogi Nils Bogason said “The financial position and operations are such that we did not see any reason to continue.”
WOW Air blamed the cancellation of earlier flights to and from London on the late arrival of a long-haul flight, but then cancelled further flights.
The airline had been given until March 29 to present a rescue plan to its lenders.
The carrier had been operating routes from the UK to Reykjavik and onwards to the US and Canada and has been stopping unprofitable routes since late last year.
WOW was founded in 2011 Skuli Mogensen, it’s chief executive. It started flights in 2012 and last year it had 11 aircraft carrying 3.5 million passengers. The collapse will affect 1,000 employees.
Offers of “Rescue” fares
Approximately 5,000 long-haul trans-Atlantic passengers are likely to be stranded while a thousand Europeans, who are in Iceland on short-haul breaks, are left without a return flight. These airlines are offering rescue fares with evidence of valid Wow air bookings affected by the collapse.
Wizz Air: Wizz Air is offering rescue fares for passengers due to travel between Reykjavik and either Gatwick or Stansted with WOW from £74.99, valid for travel through May 10 and subject to availability on each flight. These must be booked by April 7. Flights are available between Luton and Reykjavik four times a week Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
Easyjet: Easjet are offering £110 fares between Iceland and London Luton and Gatwick until April 14.
Icelandair: Icelandair is offering support for any passengers stranded in Europe or North America with a WOW ticket. These fares will only be available for passengers that have a ticket home with WOW Air between March 28 and April 11. icelandair.com/getmehome.
Norwegian Air: Norwegian Air are rescue offering fares for passengers affected by the cancellation with 25 per cent off seats in economy.
WOW Air: What are my rights?
Hundreds of thousands of passengers with future bookings are affected and may not see their money back. The Wow Air website offers the following advice:
Passengers who paid for their ticket by credit card are advised to contact their credit card company to check whether a refund of the ticket cost will be issued.
Passengers who bought their ticket from a European travel agent (within the European Economic Area) as a part of a package tour (a package which includes flights and accommodation or other services) are protected by the Package Travel Directive. Those passengers are advised to contact their travel agent to arrange an alternative flight.
Passengers who may have bought travel protection, or those passengers whose credit card terms may include such protection, may be entitled to claim compensation and assistance due to delays or travel disruption. However, such compensation is often limited.
Passengers may be entitled to compensation from WOW AIR, including in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights. In case of a bankruptcy, claims should be filed to the administrator/liquidator.