Iceland-based Wow Air, which introduced Rs 27,000 return fare between India and the US, has decided to pull out of the Delhi route barely a week after its launch. Wow Air, which is set for a change in ownership, has not announced when it will end Delhi flights. However, a report in Iceland Review said that the airline will suspend flights from January 20.
The airline had plans to fly four times a week between Delhi and Reykjavik and offer onward connections to the US. The planned suspension of the route comes as Wow Air negotiates a fund infusion with private equity firm IndiGo Partners. A Bloomberg report on Thursday said the airline plans to lay off 111 employees globally and simplify its operations. This includes a reduction of Wow's fleet to 11 aircraft. IndiGo Partners owns stakes in airlines in Europe, US and Latin America, including Frontier, Volaris and Wizz Air -- all of which operate solely an Airbus A320 fleet.
Wow Air will return all its Airbus A330s planes to the lessors. It uses these planes on the Delhi route and this would result in suspension of the route. According to industry sources, the suspension of the Delhi route is not linked to the demand or market potential of India. The Reykjavik flight has been seeing loads upwards of 80 per cent.
The schedule for December and early January will be unchanged. However, after that, there will be a new flight schedule and Wow Air will contact affected passengers, the Bloomberg report said. The airline did not respond to an email query from the paper.
The Iceland airline was pinning its hopes on its favourable geographical location to provide cheaper connectivity between India and the US, besides opening up Iceland to Indian tourists. A delegation from Iceland led by its foreign minister visited India last week to lure more Indian visitors. Currently, the Gulf airlines dominate traffic between India and the US. "Our aim is to make Iceland the Dubai of the north," Wow Air CEO Skuli Mogensen had said in May while announcing the new service.
While it offers cheaper fares, passengers still have to pay for meals, carry on bags and preferred seats. While on other routes it charges passengers for water, it decided to provide free water to customers on the Delhi flight upon boarding with an option to purchase it. This is said to be to conform to the Indian regulations that make it mandatory for airlines to provide free drinking water.