Icelandair’s bid to buy WOW Air hits turbulence

Icelandair’s bid to buy WOW Air hits turbulence

REYKJAVIK — Reports say Icelandair may have to backtrack on its plans to purchase ultra low-cost carrier and rival WOW Air.

A statement from Icelandair Group’s interim President and CEO Bogi Nils Bogason reads: “This conclusion is certainly disappointing. We want to thank WOW Air’s management for a good cooperation in the project during recent weeks. All our best wishes go out to the owners and staff of WOW Air.”

Icelandair Group’s shareholder meeting is set to take place Nov. 30, however the company says the conditions for the share purchase were “unlikely” to be filled.

Icelandair announced its intention to purchase WOW Air earlier this month and said it had entered into a share purchase agreement to purchase all shares in WOW air.

The companies were to continue to operate under separate brands. Currently the combined market share on the transatlantic market for the two airlines is 3.8%. At the time Icelandair Group said the acquisition would create opportunity for both companies to become even better prepared to provide international carriers with strong competition in the international airline market.

WOW was founded in 2011, with flights starting in 2012 through its base in Reykjavik.

In 2017 WOW air said it had carried close to 180,000 passengers on 964 flights between Canada and Europe. The ULCC began service from Montreal and Toronto in 2016. Recent announcements by WOW Air for the Canadian market included the addition of Vancouver as a gateway. The carrier’s network from the Canadian market, always with flights connecting via Reykjavik, extended beyond Europe in recent years to Israel and India.