Wow Airlines have been acquired by a United States-based company in hopes of allowing the airline to once again return to the sky and provide cheap transatlantic flights.
In a press conference, Wow Airlines has a tentative schedule of making its first flight in October this year along with some improvements to the passenger experience.
Wow Airlines’ return is especially thankful for the major investments made by USAeropsace Associates, who will be acquiring at least 50% of the airline, while Icelandic members hold the remainder of the stake in compliance with European Union airline ownership regulations. The move has boosted the company enough to become operational once again.
Back in March, the airline suddenly collapsed and announced bankruptcy without prior notice to its passengers and staff, which came as dismay because thousands were affected with canceled flights and trips.
However, what came more as a loss was the part where people have lost cheap access to flights because more often than not, people describe Wow as a too-good-to-be-true budget airline company because they offer relatively cheap flights across the Atlantic Ocean, specifically for travel to Iceland.
Its main cities were Reykjavik, London, Paris, New York and Washington, D.C. Reportedly, you can purchase a flight from the U.S. to Europe for as low as $200. It also built its name on eye-catching low-cost flights such as £99 for one-way flights between London and New York, which eventually grew a cult following.
Michele Ballarin, chief executive of USAerospace Associates, told reporters announcing the relaunch that she was particularly invested in Wow because of their brand who simply wishes everyone to be able to fly.
“People miss the ability to go out to Keflavik and get on a purple airplane and fly somewhere. Sixty percent of the load factor was from the United States and I know that the Americans – I’m one of them – miss flying on WOW. I think the brand is solid,” she said.
In the press conference, Balarin detailed some of the changes Wow Airlines will be implementing as they prepare to fly again. ” We are committed to building on that platform to enable passengers to once again enjoy the experience that Wow create,” she said.
She told reporters that Wow will relaunch with just two planes in operation, with the potential to increase that number to more than 10 aircraft by summer 2020.
Although initial operations will run in Iceland, they will run under an FAA-issued operating certificate.
The relaunched Wow Air operations will be based at Dulles International Airport, located outside of Washington, DC, though it will have facilities in Reykjavik and nearby Keflavik International Airport.
As for what will be different, Ballarin who is also an heiress from West Virginia says that she wants to make flight “fun again” about the experience of flying Wow Airlines.
In particular, the airline will start offering some deluxe amenities to customers, like waiting lounges in airports where it offers service and in-flight meals supposedly created by a Michelin-starred chef.
Despite these new additions, Balarin has promised to keep ticket prices low.
Once operational, however, Wow Airlines will have to face challenges served by a very competitive market. In particular, Wow will not just compete against a larger Icelandair, but eventually against the rest of the Transatlantic market.
Another challenge for the fleet is its overall size and makeup. Before the bankruptcy, Wow Air had a fleet of 11 planes. Ballarin suggested that the fleet would top out around 10 to 12 planes to remain profitable and she believes a mix of Boeing and Airbus types could prove a viable blend.
In their situation where they are trying to make ends meet and rise from a recent bankruptcy, proposing to have a mix blend of planes is not a cost-effective idea.
Primarily, costs associated with crew training and redundancy as well as spare parts and other ground handling tasks increase as the fleet diversifies, which are all to be considered.
So far, Wow Air hasn’t made any announcements from its official channels yet. Its website’s security certificate expired 74 days ago, and it still displays the travel alert on how stranded passengers could get a refund if they were impacted by the sudden bankruptcy.