UPDATED TO INLCUDE RESCUE FARE INFORMATION BY NORWEGIAN
In news that broke yesterday afternoon, before developing into the full story, Primera Air has collapsed, and has suspended services as of 2nd October 2018.
In the press released that followed, it became clear that Primera Air had some serious problems, with issues with one aircraft, late delivery of the Airbus A321neo aircraft, and the costs of hiring in extra lift capacity. Combined with increasing fuel, it seems that flying wasn’t sustainable unless they found new investors.
And they didn’t.
— AirlineGeeks (@AirlineGeeks) October 1, 2018
Things were falling apart quickly on the afternoon of the 1st October – with images of aircraft impounded at Stansted Airport…
— Aviation News ✈️ (@planesmad2016) October 1, 2018
… and emails leaking about the airline
@OurStansted @primeraair @SimonCalder @itvanglia @BBCEssex @SkyNewsBreak
I have just received this sad email from an employee at Primera Air who are based at Stansted Airport.
Looks like we have lost another transatlantic airline at Stansted ☹️ pic.twitter.com/fBbAqlb9iD
— D R (@DarrenTNT) October 1, 2018
Primera Air had a 14 year history of being a charter and schedule carrier – before a couple of years ago deciding that its future would be in long haul low cost narrowbody operations, spinning up operations at London Stansted, Birmingham and Paris (with some quick retreats from some markets).
Sadly, this won’t be happening any more – even with the mass of recent announcements the airline made to shore up money.
For passengers, it gets ugly. The UK Civil Aviation Authority advises that since flights were booked direct, they covered he ATOL scheme (unless they booked flights as part of a package holiday).
The CAA’s advice can be distilled to the following:
- Passengers who have flown out will need to make their own arrangements getting home.
- If you booked with the airline direct, you’ll need to claim your refund via Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Contact your card issuer.
- If you booked with a travel agent, you maay be covered if you brought Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance.
- If you brought Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance with your ticket, check what it covers
- If you booked with an ATOL holder and hold an ATOL certificate, they should be able to get you home, or provide a full refund. Check with the ATOL travel firm
Norweigan have launched a series of rescue fares for affected passengers on a mixture of long and short haul routes:
, between London and New York
We are offering repatriation fares to those affected by Primera. Passengers can book reduced fares for travel up to 14th October. Primera customers can call the dedicated Norwegian hotline on +47 210 16771 pic.twitter.com/ILoSv706fB
— Norwegian UK & Ireland (@NorwegianUKI) October 2, 2018
Note that proof of having a Primera ticket will be required to book these tickets, as well as to check in.
Finally, there’s the hard-working staff who are affected by this – and for some – this might be their second redundancy in two years. The staff who worked diligently to try and improve the airline… and in the end told “Sorry, that’s all folks.”. A hard pill to swallow indeed – and we can only hope they find new homes quickly.
The transatlantic market has always been a tough one, and whilst some may think there’s still plenty of capacity out there, those high fuel prices are ready to bite.
I’m drawn to a comment made at APEX Expo last week.
“There’s a lot of low cost airlines out there with lots of bluster… and lots of red ink”
I hope this isn’t the first of many this winter that may face the wall.
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