Tuesday, 16 July 2019

is WAB about to emerge from the ashes of WOW air or is the WOW factor about to be reborn?

There has been much aviation media speculation over the last few days regarding a group of investors, including two former directors of the bankrupted WOW air are about to start a new airline called WAB - We Are Back.!

Local Icelandic media frettabladid.is the two former directors are working in conjunction with Irish investment fund Avianta Capital, which is owned by Aislin Whittley-Ryan, daughter of one of the Ryanair founders, to create the new low-cost long-haul airline. Apparently, Avianta Capital will be funding the new venture to the tune of $40 million over three years to get the airline flying.

The group are also looking into getting finance from at least two banks, one Swiss and one Icelandic, plus other investors - including Arnars Más Magnússon and Sveinn Inga Steinþórsson both previously with WOW air. If the plans come to fruition, then it is expected the airline will start operations in the autumn of 2020, it will operate 14 routes to Europe and North America with a fleet of six or so aircraft.  

If all goes well, they expect to carry around one million passengers in year one and two million at least in year two. They hope to manage a revenue of $157 million in the first year, which seems very optimistic given the current economic situation, Icelandair's market share and other factors, but I guess we'll see. 

WAB is not the only potential air carrier forming in the shadow of the now-defunct WOW. It would appear that the liquidators of the WOW air estate has managed to sell most of the operational assets of the firm, to some American investors, who also want to start an airline. The purchase was made with a lump sum payment according to various local media sources, but as yet the investor's names have not been made public. However, it is believed that they are from the US and have a history in the airline business.  

The sale is said to include the operations manuals, booking system, software, booths, sales computers, uniforms, tools and spare parts as well as the WOW air brand name and logo and internet domain.

Currently, we have no further details regarding the planned operation, either in terms of aircraft or routes served but the invertors are making themselves know to Icelandic authorities whilst also formulation more detailed plans. Whilst all the names have not been revealed yet, we understand that nobody from the WOW is connected with the new operation. 

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