Budget airline Primera Air has been forced to halt all operations due to the lack of funds to support the airline, resulting in thousands of passengers stranded and employees not knowing what to do.
A series of unfortunate events has been blamed by airline officials for the cease of operations. Delays on the delivery of new aircraft from Airbus due to ongoing engine supplier issues have caused Primera’s operations to be rocky and problematic. Leasing of capacity has incurred additional costs of over 20 million euros. Additionally, the removal of an aircraft last year due to maintenance issues has cost the airline 10 million euros in lost revenue.
Primera Air released a statement on their website regarding the circumstances:
“Airline Primera Air and IATA codes PF and 6F have been suspended as of today, October 2nd, 2018.
On behalf of Primera Air team, we would like to thank you for your loyalty. On this sad day we are saying goodbye to all of you”.
The airline had new aircraft already lined up and operating within its fleet such as the Airbus A321neo and the Boeing 737 MAX which is now sitting at Boeing’s facility with a white tail. Set to be the launch customer for the recently certified Airbus A321LR, Primera Air requested to lease the aircraft from a leasing company but complications with banks due to financial difficulties has now left ARKIA as the launch customer for the type.
New routes such as Madrid – New York, Boston and Toronto were scheduled to start next year with a starting price of $172 each way. Plans to introduce international long-haul flights from Frankfurt to New York, Boston, Toronto and Montreal were also in the making.
The announcement of Primera’s end comes exactly one year after Monarch Airlines said goodbye due to the highly competitive market it was placed in. Air Berlin is another example of a European airline that recently shutdown.
Primera Airlines has never received the best feedback from passengers and has often come under fire for poor service and late refunds but times like these are not to be taken lightly. Employees all over the airline now have to secure another job and attempt to retrieve what they are owed.
If you are one of the stranded passengers or you know someone who is, the airline is no longer contactable via their standard outlets. WOW Air has been seen on Twitter offering passengers ways of getting home and dealing with the paperwork side.
Ultimately it was high fuel prices, low fares, fleet complications and fierce competition that brought down Primera, which has been operating since 2003 and served 97 destinations in more than 20 countries.