A new owner's plans to restart Icelandic low-cost airline WOW Air this month hit a snag, as the retooled airline now says it won't begin flying until December.
WOW Air collapsed in March after months of financial woes, selling off many of its planes and cutting routes to the U.S. But a quirky new owner planned to resume what she called “WOW 2” with flights between Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD) and Reykjavik (KEF) sometime this month, eventually growing to just 10 or 12 airplanes.
Now, new owner Michele Ballarin says it will begin flights in December, with tickets going on sale next month.
“Wow Air intends to be fully operational in December with ticket sales hitting the market in November,” the airline said in a statement to FlightGlobal. “Significant market adjustments have taken place since the announcement of the re-launch of Wow Air. This contraction of air carriers has provided an increase in aircraft inventory previously not available in the late summer. Wow Air will take this opportunity to acquire and reconfigure our launch aircraft in the best interests of our customers and shareholders.”
Those “market adjustments” are a reference to recently failed airlines like Thomas Cook, which collapsed last month, giving other airlines a chance to snap up used aircraft at a potentially cheaper price.
It's just another turn in the seemingly never-ending saga of WOW Air. Once among the best known low-cost airlines to get across the Atlantic Ocean for cheap, it failed under the weight of its aggressive expansion.
Ballarin has said she doesn't think that high-profile failure has tarnished the image of WOW and its signature purple planes, which she intends to put front in center in this planned revival. But it seems clear that WOW 2 would be much different from its predecessor.
For starters, Ballarin said the revamped airline plans to offer lounge access to all passengers – not exactly a budget airline amenity. The airline has a Michelin-starred chef on staff to design healthier inflight meals.
“I think you’ll see a very different approach to the experience on WOW as we take that incredible platform that its founder developed and build on that,” she previously said.
WOW Air's revival is delayed. But it remains to be seen whether that planned revival will even work – especially with flights to Iceland planned to start in the thick of winter.