Primera Air Declares Bankruptcy, Ceases Operations

I definitely saw this coming.

Primera Air was an ultra low cost carrier owned by the Icelandic-based Primera Travel Group. For most of their seven year history, they operated short haul flights within Europe from various bases in northern Europe. They operated these flights with 737s.

Last year, the airline turned heads when it announced that it would take delivery of A321neos and 737 MAX aircraft and fly transatlantic flights. Its original routes were from Paris, Birmingham and London to Newark and Boston, and the flights were scheduled to begin in May 2018 with $99 introductory fares.

The first sign that the airline would be in trouble was when their new A321neo deliveries were delayed. This meant that the airline had to spend extra money to lease an ancient 757 which ended up having engine issues shortly after beginning flights with the airline, stranding passengers. They also leased a couple of Euro Atlantic planes.

A National Airlines 757 similar to the one that Primera Air leased. Photo by Aero Icarus (Flickr)


Also, despite the low fares, the airline could not seem to be able to fill up their planes. They eventually lowered the fares to a jaw-dropping $63 one way transatlantic.

Obviously the airline started dropping routes, the most significant being the termination of the Birmingham base. Despite all of the setbacks, the airline continued to expand, adding flights between Washington Dulles and London Stansted (which began slightly over a month ago) and scheduling multiple new transatlantic flights from new bases in Berlin Tegel and Frankfurt with the not-yet-delivered 737 MAX.

This rapid expansion while losing massive amounts of money has led to them declaring bankruptcy. Just today in Europe (October 2), Primera Air ceased all flights, short haul and long haul.

As bad as I feel for the airline, They made plenty of bad decisions with the rapid expansion. That combined with bad luck with their plane deliveries and leased planes led them to declare bankruptcy.

[Featured image by Anna Zvereva (Flickr)]




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