Monday, 22 October 2018

WOW Air drops USA services, but will start a Vancouver service in June 2019

The Icelandic low-cost long-haul airline, WOW air has chosen Vancouver as its next Canadian destination the airline confirmed this week, just days after dropping five USA routes from its schedule.

WOW air is dropping its service from Reykjavik's Keflavik Airport to St Louis on the 6th January next year, with the airlines PR boss Svana Friðriksdóttir saying, “Unfortunately, it has to be said that St Louis was a disappointment for WOW Air this summer in terms of end results, with load factors not achieving the targets that were set for the route in the beginning, and compared to other markets in our network,” 

That news came as a surprise, not least to the management of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, "We’re disappointed because the response from customers across the St. Louis region was strong and we were told we were one of the airline’s top performing markets in the Midwest that were added last spring. The airline will not meet the criteria for airport incentives with its announcement to cease service in January." it said in a statement.  

But it isn't just St Louis that won't be seeing those purple planes next year, a number of seasonal services wil also not return next year.

The airline is also calling a halt to its seasonal routes to Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dallas / Fort Worth which will not be making a return next year. It is also understood that the New York JFK, Baltimore and Detroit will also be axed as the airline struggles to cope with increased competition, lower the economical fares and the greatly increased fuel charges.

The new Canadian route to Vancouver is scheduled to start in June next year with up to six flights a week on an Airbus A321neo aircraft. "We are delighted to expand our roster of destinations to include Canada's west coast," said Skúli Mogensen, CEO and founder of WOW air. "The new route in Vancouver is a testament to our commitment to pursue growth in North America, as well as connect more Canadian travellers to our growing list of overseas destinations."

"It's right there in the name - WOW! We are so excited to welcome this new, innovative airline partner to YVR and further connect B.C. proudly to the world with increased service to Iceland and beyond," said Craig Richmond, President and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority. "With the addition of WOW Airlines, we are well on our way to reaching our goal of 29 million passengers by 2020 and will have 57 airlines servicing the YVR community."

The aviation industry in Iceland is in a shaky state at the present, WOW Air's major competitor, Icelandair, recently embarked on sweeping cost-cutting measures, share buy-backs and asking investors for more cash. The business model of offering low fares to the USA from Iceland with a range of connecting flights from Europe to Iceland worked well, at least for a while, but margins are slim and high fuel prices eat into the margins. The increased competition from US carriers as well as from a rapidly expanding Norwegian, offering those same low-fares but on direct flights also eats into that small margin. 

(Photo WOW air)