WOW Air, after a couple of years of super-rapid expansion into North America, is poised to take a big shrink brought on by financial shortfalls and uncertain future plans. Starting in January, it will sell or return nine of its twenty planes, and begin dropping flights and, likely, destinations.
The Icelandic ultra-low-cost carrier, which has advertised tickets as low as $69 on routes from the U.S. to Iceland, and then beyond to Europe, currently serves 13 North American cities, but that will either drop, or there will be fewer flights from some of them as the carrier fights to hold on while negotiating with new investor, Indigo Partners.
Indigo stepped in after a planned merger with Icelandic Airlines was dropped by Icelandic. Indigo, which owns Frontier Airlines and has had other airline experience, has not yet said what its ultimate plan and financing for WOW are. In the meantime, four leased A330s will be returned to owners, and at least four A321s will be sold to raise $10 million in quick cash.
WOW says it will be able to carry all passengers booked for December and early January, and will begin notifying passengers who will not be able to fly under new schedules to be released for later in January and onward. Also in doubt, the airline's newly-launched route to India, which uses an A330.
Contractors, temps and 111 full-time workers will be laid off as the shrinkage continues.