The budget airline Wow air has collapsed, leaving passengers stranded after all flights were cancelled.
Many customers took to social media in disbelief on discovering their flights to and from Iceland had been cancelled altogether, with the airline advising passengers to search for flights elsewhere.
The announcement will also come as a devastating blow to around 1,000 staff at the airline. The firm had already revealed plans to cut 111 jobs and cut its fleet size to 11 planes to reduce costs.
Hey @wow_air ! my girlfriend is gonna miss her grandfathers funeral because of you this,i have nothing but deep hate and disrespect for this company
— heal me (@amireallyleon) March 28, 2019
@wowairsupport I am in Berlin having purchased a round trip ticket with Wow Air and am now stranded with no flight home that I have already paid for. Haven’t received any email regarding this or any notice of a refund – had to find out through Twitter. Terrible.
— Alex Spence (@alex0spence) March 28, 2019
@AirCanada My mom and friend are now stranded in Iceland due to @wow_air ceasing operations. They were due to fly on Saturday morning. Can you help them get home? Rescue Fare back to Ontario available?
— DeeBee (@DMBDisciple) March 28, 2019
My @wow_air flight from BWI tonight is delayed almost 4h…I feel terrible for the family here with cranky kids #beenthere course, if this plane doesn’t take off at 11 like they promise I may rival those kids with my own crankiness
— Denise E. (@dcrre) March 28, 2019
The company had been under pressure from creditors, but had said only this morning it was in the final stages of completing an equity fundraising with a group of investors.
On Tuesday Wow air said it had achieved an “important milestone” in restructuring the firm, after bondholders approved plans to convert their bonds into equity and talks with investors began.
It had previously been in talks with rival Icelandair last week, but the discussions appear to have broken down. Last year the privately-held airline had come close to being bought in an all-share deal with Icelandair, but the rival pulled out, according to Reuters.
Indigo Partners, a private equity fund, also cancelled a proposed investment last week.
The airline said on its website today: “Wow air has ceased operation. All Wow air flights have been cancelled.
“Passengers are advised to check available flights with other airlines. Some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances. Information on those airlines will be published, when it becomes available.”
Only last year the firm had announced an ambitious vision to expand into India, the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, through low-cost long-haul flights between India and North America.
The firm’s founder and CEO, entrepreneur Skúli Mogensen, also won Marketing Man of the Year in Iceland in 2017 and a national Business Man of the Year award in 2011 and 2016.
Mogensen founded the firm in 2012, and by 2018 Wow air was carrying 3.5 million passengers a year.