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Is WOW air on the Brink of Collapse?

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WOW air took the low-cost airline scene by storm, pitching dirt cheap fares from the U.S. to Europe with smart and chic branding. But now it appears the Iceland-based carrier is running out of options to continue flying.

Flight Global reports that Icelandair quickly abandoned renewed talks of salvaging the airline as it flirts with bankruptcy. That came just days after Indigo Partners, a private equity firm behind many other low-cost airlines, abandoned its own potential takeover bid of WOW air last week.

Icelandair considered a potential takeover of its fellow Icelandic airline in November before turning it down. It’s not clear what changed to cause the airline to reconsider – nor what led them to say no this time.

“All discussions between the parties have ended,” Icelandair said in a brief statement.

What is clear, however, is that WOW air is in major trouble. Three times now potential investors have studied the possibility of taking over the troubled airline. And on all three counts, that potential fizzled out.

How fast WOW's fortune has fallen.

Once a major player in shuttling price-wary passengers across the Atlantic Ocean, the airline was clearly far too ambitious. It has scrapped nearly all of its routes from U.S. cities to Reykjavik (KEF) and sold off planes in a bid to stay afloat.


Our Analysis

Time is clearly running out for WOW air.

WOW was struggling even before Indigo Partners backed out on a deal to rescue the company. Now with two potential saviors backing away, it's tough to see how WOW can survive.

So what does that mean for flyers? For starters, be wary of the cheap flights WOW is selling from its remaining U.S. gateways like Detroit (DTW), Boston (BOS) and Baltimore (BWI). The airline regularly makes waves by selling one-way flights to Europe for under $99. We haven't posted about those sales for the last several months due to concern that the airline may never actually fly them.

And if you're booked on a WOW air flight, look into alternatives now. Look into refund policies or any trip insurance offered by the credit card used to book. At this point, there's no guarantee WOW will be able to honor them.


Bottom Line

WOW air is running on borrowed time. Unless another savior comes through – and fast – it's hard to see this airline surviving much longer.

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