News & Opinion | March 28, 2019 12:50 pm

Wow Air Collapsed, Leaving Thousands of Passengers Stranded

The discount airline cancelled all flights in middle-of-night announcement

Wow Air
WOW Air (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Thousands of travelers found themselves stranded after Icelandic airline Wow Air shut down suddenly, cancelling all flights in a middle-of-night announcement.

The low-cost carrier released a travel alert via the company’s website stating: “Wow Air has ceased operation. All Wow Air flights have been cancelled.”

All 29 of Thursday’s scheduled flights were cancelled in the sudden shutdown, leaving 2,700 customers scrambling to find other arrangements, reported Bloomberg.

The travel alert advised stranded customers to seek flights with other airlines, adding that some competitors may offer reduced-rate flights at so-called “rescue fares.”

According to Iceland Review, Wow competitor Icelandair is among the airlines that have offered assistance. The airline released an announcement stating, “Icelandair is aware of the situation following the news of the bankruptcy of Wow air. We are currently working on a plan in order to assist stranded passengers in need of assistance to return home.”

Iceland Review also named Hungarian airline Whizz Air among those offering reduced rates in the wake of Wow’s collapse.

“We have run out of time and have unfortunately not been able to secure funding for the company,” said Wow Air Chairman Skuli Mogensen in a letter to employees. “I will never be able to forgive myself for not taking action sooner.”

Morgensen founded Wow Air in 2011. The discount airline had suffered in recent years due to a decline in tourism and rising fuel costs, as well as poor customer reviews that criticized the airline for frequent flight delays.

According to Bloomberg, Wow’s failure could also breed larger economic problems for Iceland’s economy. Wow is the eighth European airline to fail in recent months, and Arion has predicted a 1.9% drop in gross domestic product as a result.