Low-cost airline Primera Air ceases operations

Low-cost carrier Primera Air has ceased operations after failing to “secure the long-term financing of the airline”.

The European carrier, which was formed 14 years ago, is now set to enter administration. Flights to Washington and New York due to leave Stansted last night were grounded.

A statement from Primera said: “This is a sad day for all the employees and passengers of Primera Air.

“The company has been working relentlessly during the last months to secure the long-term financing of the airline. Not being able to reach an agreement with our bank for a bridge financing, we had no other choice than filing for bankruptcy.”

The airline blamed “several unforeseen misfortunate events” over the past two years which have “severely affected the financial standing” of the business.

“In 2017, the company lost one aircraft from operations due to severe corrosion problems and had to bear the total cost of rebuilding, resulted in a loss of more than €10m.

“2018 began with a fantastic start of our low-cost long-haul project with a brand-new Airbus 321neo fleet, however, due to severe delays of aircraft deliveries this beginning ended up being rocky and incredibly problematic: operational issues, cancelations of number of flights, loss of revenues are just a few to mention.

“In addition, to fulfil our obligations in front of passengers, Primera Air leased in aircraft and bared additional costs of over €20m.”

As reported by Routesonline earlier this year, the carrier has an eclectic history that defies easy classification. Having started life as an Icelandic airline, JetX, it was acquired by and renamed after Primera Travel Group, a conglomerate of Scandinavian travel agencies and tour operators.

Primera Air then ditched its Icelandic identity, first by acquiring a Danish operating licence and then another in Latvia.

The statement from Primera Air said that weighing up potential losses due to future delivery delays, and the added exposure to our partners and lessors, it has decided to cease operations so it will “have a smaller effect” on its clients.

“Without additional financing, we do not see any possibility to continue our operations,” the carrier added. “This is an enormous disappointment after the incredible hard work and dedication put into building the airline.”

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.