Business

Irish passengers feared stranded after WOW Air collapses

WOW Air has collapsed, leaving thousands of passengers stranded
Gary McDonald Business Editor

Icelandic budget carrier WOW Air has closed down, leaving thousands of passengers - including some from Ireland - stranded.

The debt-laden carrier, which operated a number of transatlantic services from Dublin, via Iceland, to Boston, Washington D.C, Montréal,Toronto, LA and San Francisco, failed to find a new backer.

It had been in talks with a US financier and the rival carrier Icelandair over recent months, but the negotiations are understood to have broken down.

At Keflavik airport near Reykjavik, the airline said it was “in the final stages of finalising equity raise with a group of investors”.

All of Thursday’s early morning flights were cancelled “until documentation with all parties involved have been finalised”.

But in a simple post on Twitter it later said: “End of Operation of Wow Air."

Richard Williams, Head of Policy (Transport) at The Consumer Council said passengers left stranded may be able to claim money back. 

“Your rights will differ depending on how you paid for the flights," he said. "If you bought your flights as part of a package, you should be ATOL protected, and should contact the company who you booked your flights with.

“If you booked your own flights by credit card, you may be able to claim your money back from your credit card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. To be eligible, you will need to have paid more than £100 for your flights. If the flight was under £100, or you used a Visa debit card, you may be able to use the ‘Chargeback’ scheme that card issuers are signed up to.”

WOW Air began flying direct from Dublin to Iceland in June 2015, operating five times a week with fares from €69 each-way, though its baggage fees were thought to be among the highest in Europe.

The airline allows one cabin bag of up to 5kg free, with an additional 7kg charged at €38.99 per leg on connecting flights between Europe and the US East Coast. Checked 20kg bags cost from €54.99 each-way.

WOW's services from the UK included operations from Gatwick, Stansted, Bristol and Edinburgh.

Its collapse adds to recent other failures including Monarch Airlines, Primera Air, Flybmi and Air Berlin, while last month struggling Flybe was bought up by a consortium including Virgin.

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