Wow Air Says They’ll Re-launch in December

A month ago a West Virginia heiress-turned-arms dealer bought the brand assets of defunct Iceland-based transatlantic low cost carrier Wow Air. She vowed to re-launch the airline in just a month – October! – with flights between Washington Dulles and Reykjavik.

At the time I said that would never happen, even declaring the plan struck me as “nuts.” They hadn’t announced aircraft (Ballarin said she “liked” both Boeing planes and Airbus planes and would operate both despite intending a fleet of just a dozen planes). It’s not even entirely clear who else besides this woman – who reportedly served as a go-between with Somali pirates and tried to get the CIA to hire her to kill Al Qaeda jihadists – was involved in the new company.

Washington Dulles airport says they still haven’t had conversations with her since she acquired the Wow Air brand.


Wow Air, Copyright: zhukovsky / 123RF Stock Photo

Now Michelle Ballarin says Wow Air will start selling tickets in November for flights in December. However she still has not “disclose[d] any information about pending schedules, routes or destinations” or, I would add, aircraft.

Wow Air intends to be fully operational in December with ticket sales hitting the market in November. Significant market adjustments have taken place since the announcement of the re-launch of Wow Air. This contraction of air carriers has provided an increase in aircraft inventory previously not available in the late summer. Wow Air will take this opportunity to acquire and reconfigure our launch aircraft in the best interests of our customers and shareholders.”

Wow Air plans to acquire aircraft, get a new configuration certified, and retrofit planes all in time for passenger flights in December. Need I mention that technically Wow Air’s statement doesn’t say which December?

I don’t expect a December launch. Launching air service between the U.S. and Iceland in the winter is about the worst idea I’ve heard. Wow Air was once a great low cost carrier, if not a great business. It looks to me as though it could just become the next Avatar Airlines or Baltia.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is obviously a scam of some sort, but its not obvious who is being scammed. As far as I can tell, it’s not like Baltia where the principals are trying to take money from unsophisticated outside investors. So what is the play here?

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