Just six months after its spectacular collapse, which left many passengers stranded and others with their plans cancelled, a new owner has plans for the airline's distinctive purple planes to return to the air—but there are many skeptics.
New owner Michelle Ballarin, an American businesswoman, says she doesn't think the collapse and stranding have hurt the brand, She told a press conference that “I think people miss the ability to go out to Keflavik and get on a purple airplane and fly somewhere.” For now, with flights set to start next month, the 'somewhere' will be Washington Dulles, with other routes to be added.
Unlike original WOW's position as an ultra low-cost carrier, Ballarin says her WOW would focus on perks like food, which suggests it's aiming for a higher seat-price market. And, she's planning to stop at 10 or 12 planes as a cap on growth.
Meanwhile, France's second-largest airline, Aigle Azur, or Blue Eagle, has gone into bankruptcy, leaving 19,000 passengers away from home; two days later, 13,000 were still waiting to get home. The airline had no trans-Atlantic routes, but carried heavy traffic between France and Algeria and other African destinations as well as other parts of Europe. Air France chartered a number of planes to help bring passengers home.
Air France may be among those bidding to take over the failed airline, along with a group fronted by former Air France executives. The failed company's ownership is split among the parent company of China's Hainan Airlines with 49%; David Neeleman, founder of Jet Blue and principal owner of Azul and TAP Portugal, 32% and French businessman Gerard Houa, 19%.