WOW Air collapses, ceases operations

WOW Air has shut down, stranding passengers on both sides of the Atlantic (photo: WOW Air).

Icelandic ultra low-cost carrier WOW Air, which offered services to Montreal and Toronto from its hub in Reykjavik, has shut down, stranding passengers on both sides of the Atlantic.

WOW got a lifeline Tuesday when bondholders agreed to convert their debt to 49% ownership in the company, but other shareholders were not willing to finance any more of the failing airline.

WOW says stranded passengers are on their own to make arrangements with other airlines. “Some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances. Information on those airlines will be published, when it becomes available,” the company said in a statement posted on its website.

No estimate on the number of people affected was immediately available.

WOW said passengers who paid with a credit card may be able to get a refund through their card provider, while passengers who bought from a European travel agent are protected. Private insurance could also help, though the company advises, “such compensation is often limited.”

“Passengers may also be entitled to compensation from WOW AIR, including in accordance with European regulation on Air Passenger Rights,” read the statement. “In case of a bankruptcy, claims should be filed to the administrator / liquidator.”

Signs of WOW’s struggles have mounted in recent days as fist potential investor Indigo Partners walked away, followed days later by Icelandair.

WOW started operations in 2012, and had ambitions to serve Vancouver, but dropped the plans as financial pressures mounted before a single flight could be flown.

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