Wow Air is back, and so too, we hope, are its scintillatingly cheap flights to Iceland. After abruptly ceasing operations in March, the low-cost carrier is getting a new lease on life.
U.S-based aviation firm USAerospace Associates announced last week that it has agreed to acquire the Wow brand, and with an $85 million investment it is planning to start operating low-cost flights between the United States and Europe as early as next month.
The inaugural flight is slated for October and will be between Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Keflavík International Airport (KEF) in Iceland. USAerospace said in a release sent to AFAR that it plans to add more flight capacity as demand for travel to Iceland grows into the busier summer 2020 travel season. The company did not say whether it will be flying from other hubs beyond Dulles.
Michele Ballarin, chairman of USAerospace, will also serve as chairman of the newly reborn Wow Air LLC, the U.S. operations for which will be based at Washington Dulles with head offices in Reykjavík.
Wow Air ceased operations in March after facing months of financial woes. The Icelandic budget carrier was known for its no-frills $99 transatlantic flights, which have been credited with significantly contributing to the country’s rapid rise in popularity as a tourism destination in recent years.
The shutdown of Wow Air dealt a severe blow to Iceland’s tourism industry.
“The collapse of Wow Air has had quite a profound impact on us as a company and on our customers,” Lea Korinth, director of experiences at Jubel, a personalized trip planning company, told AFAR last month. Jubel also offers “surprise trips”—for which it puts together mystery itineraries for its customers and reveals the destinations at the time of departure.
“We’ve sold many journeys to Iceland in the last year, most of them surprises as Iceland simply never disappoints. After Wow Air’s collapse, we had to come back to clients who had already booked with us and ask for a severe increase in the client’s budget due to having to book new flights. These flights are almost twice as expensive now,” added Korinth.
There has been no mention about how low the fares would actually be for the new Wow Air. The Telegraph reported that Ballarin’s vision for the revived carrier includes an in-flight menu created by a Michelin-starred chef and a new lounge for Wow Air passengers at Keflavík airport. The new owners have also yet to address how they plan to regain fliers’ trust after leaving so many high and dry this past spring.
In addition to commercial air service, the new Wow also plans to operate cargo air services with a focus on “fresh off-the-hook” fish delivered to the U.S. market.