Jet Airways Suspends Operations. All Flights Cancelled.

The Indian airline Jet Airways has suspended all remaining flights after it has failed to secure funding from new investors.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (Image Credit: Jet Airways)

Jet Airways has suspended all operations after it has failed to secure new funding from either the State Bank of India or new investors.

Jet Airways has been in financial distress for over six months due to heavy financial losses and an over indebted balance sheet. Its operations had been subject to very signifiant disruption due to aircraft being grounded. The airline has long been technically insolvent.

The airline has issued a statement to confirm that all flights have been suspended.

Mumbai, Wednesday, 17th April, 2019: Late last night, Jet Airways was informed by the State Bank of India (SBI), on behalf of the consortium of Indian Lenders, that they are unable to consider its request for critical interim funding.


Since no emergency funding from the lenders or any other source is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going. Consequently, with immediate effect, Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights. The last flight will operate today.
This decision has been taken after a painstaking evaluation of all alternatives that were made available to the Company and after receiving guidance and advice on the same from its Board of Directors. Jet Airways has informed the DGCA, and the Ministries of Civil Aviation and Finance and other relevant government institutions, of this course of action.

Over the last several weeks and months, the company has tried every means possible to seek both interim and long-term funding. Unfortunately, despite its very best efforts, the airline has been left with no other choice today but to go ahead with a temporary suspension of flight operations.

This has been a very difficult decision but without interim funding, the airline is simply unable to conduct flight operations in a manner that delivers to the very reasonable expectations of its guests, employees, partners and service providers.

After 25 years of sharing the Joy of Flying with Indian and international guests, Jet Airways has been forced to take this extreme measure as prolonged and sustained efforts with lenders and authorities did not yield the desired results.

Essential services needed to support guest services and the re-commencement of the flight operations will be kept onboard until further notice.

In truth, Jet Airways should have suspended operations some time ago, let alone continue selling flights it had no reasonable prospect of ever operating.

Whilst the suspension of operations has been described as temporary and there is a possibility of new investors coming forward to enable a restart of operations, given the financial state of the airline, this seems unlikely.

Flights from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi have been cancelled since Friday 12 April 2019. Its three daily slot pairs have also been transferred back to Etihad Airways. In recent days, only a very small number of domestic flights have operated, as its operation had progressively wound down.

Jet Airways was founded in 1993 and was once India’s largest airline by market share. It began flying from London Heathrow in 2005 following a relaxation of a bilateral treaty which allowed more flights between the UK and India.

Civil Aviation Authority Response

Jet Airways is not regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

However, it may provide general guidance shortly on its website shortly. For passengers with existing bookings, the best advice is contact your credit company for a refund or to check your travel insurance policy to see whether it covers airline failure.

Rescue Fares

When an airline suspends operations it is standard practice for rival airlines to offer “rescue fares” to passengers who are stranded.

As far as UK airlines are concerned, British Airways flies from London Heathrow to Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

Virgin Atlantic flies from London Heathrow to New Delhi.

Both airlines may announce rescue fares shortly for passengers who are mid-way through their journeys.

If made available, they will only be available by contacting the airlines’ respective call centres. Guidance may be available shortly on the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic websites. If rescue fares are offered, in both cases, proof of an existing booking will be required either at the time of booking or check-in.

Jet Airways Suspends London – Mumbai / New Delhi

Jet Airways has now removed flights from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi from sale indefinitely.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (Image Credit: Jet Airways)

Following the cancellation of Jet Airways’ flights from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi since Friday 12 April 2019, Jet Airways has now removed these routes from sale permanently.

These routes had been removed from sale until Friday 26 April 2019. However, this has now been extended indefinitely.

At present Jet Airways is only operating a very limited number of domestic flights. At most only a handful of Jet Airways flights are operating at any one time.

Jet Airways’ three daily London Heathrow slot pairs were leased from Etihad which took back the slots on Friday.

Taking account of these developments, short of a near miraculous injection of capital from a new investor, there is no reasonable prospect of Jet Airways returning to London Heathrow.

Jet Airways’ route to Mumbai was codeshared with Virgin Atlantic who also codeshared with the airline on a number of domestic routes in India. This does leave Virgin Atlantic without a codeshare partner in India. Virgin has mooted a return to Mumbai, a route it has previously suspended twice.

Virgin Atlantic is offering passengers who have booked codeshare flights on Jet Airways through Virgin a full refund, or the opportunity to rebook or reroute. Full details are on the Virgin Atlantic website.

Update: Jet Airways has now put flights from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi back on sale from Friday 26 April 2019. However, it remains far from certain that they will actually operate.

Update 2: Jet Airways has published a full list of cancellations. It states that its London routes are cancelled until Thursday 18 April 2019. However, again, it remains far from certain that they will actually operate.

Jet Airways Transfers Heathrow Slots To Etihad

Jet Airways has permanently transferred its Heathrow slots to Etihad Airways.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (Image Credit: Jet Airways)

Jet Airways has transferred its Heathrow slots to Etihad Airways.

Airport Coordination Ltd, which is responsible for governing slot trades at London Heathrow, has reported a permanent transfer of Jet Airways’ three daily slot pairs to Etihad. This follows significant disruption to Jet Airways’ operations and the recent cancellation of flights from London Heathrow.

Jet Airways - Etihad Heathrow Slot Swap
Jet Airways – Etihad Heathrow Slot Swap (Image Credit: Airport Coordination Limited)

It is likely that these slots were originally leased from Etihad to Jet Airways, after Etihad acquired slots from Jet Airways when it originally bought a stake in the airline.

The transfer officially takes effect from Sunday 28 April 2019. In the absence of any alternative arrangements this means that Jet Airways Heathrow operations will effectively end.

It is not clear at the moment what Etihad will do with the slots. Under “use it or lose it” rules Etihad will need to either lease the slots to another airline and operate them itself.

Jet Airways London Heathrow Cancellations

Jet Airways flights from London Heathrow are subject to cancellation.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (Image Credit: Jet Airways)

Jet Airways had been in financial distress for many months due to heavy financial losses and an over indebted balance sheet. Its domestic operations have been subject to signifiant disruption as aircraft have been grounded.

This has now extended to its international operations. Flights have already been operating without in-flight entertainment over the past week and some international routes outside of London have been cancelled.

Jet Airways flies from London Heathrow to New Delhi and Mumbai. The latter route is also codeshared with Virgin Atlantic.

All Jet Airways flights from London Heathrow are showing as cancelled on Friday 12, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April 2019:

Flight 9W119 London Heathrow – Mumbai
Flight 9W117 London Heathrow – Mumbai
Flight 9W121 London Heathrow – New Delhi

These flights have also been taken off sale from its website on Saturday 13 April 2019. Until Monday 15 April 2019, Jet Airways is expected to operate only a very limited number of domestic flights.

Jet Airways has provided limited disruption assistance advice on its website. Whilst it is promising full refunds to passengers, there is a long list of creditors, including its own pilots, who are owed money by the airline.

In anticipation of disruption Virgin Atlantic has confirmed that passengers who have booked to fly on Virgin Atlantic with onward connections to Jet Airways can either obtain a refund or rebook to an alternative date or destination. More details are available from Virgin Atlantic.

Whilst efforts are being made to find new investors in Jet Airways, this is clearly a fluid situation. Given the airline’s debts, widespread operational disruption and loss of confidence in the airline, it is hard to see what assets are left for any willing potential purchaser.

About Jet Airways

Jet Airways was founded in 1993 and was once India’s largest airline by market share. It began flying from London Heathrow in 2005 following a relaxation of a bilateral treaty which allowed more flights between the UK and India. Etihad acquired a 24% stake in the airline in 2013, and this is the latest in a truly disastrous string of investments by Etihad.

In the event of continued disruption it’s not clear what happens to Jet Airways’ Heathrow slots as Etihad did acquire three slot pairs from Jet Airways when it acquired a stake in the airline.

Update: Jet Airways’ Heathrow slots have been transferred to Etihad.

WOW air Suspends Operations. All Flights Cancelled.

Icelandic airline WOW air has suspended operations after it has failed to secure new funding.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Wow air
Wow air (Image Credit: Wow air)

Icelandic airline WOW air has suspended operations after it has failed to secure new funding.

The announcement was made on the WOW air website at around 08:00 GMT on Thursday 28 March 2019.

For the avoidance of doubt, WOW air should not be confused with Wizz Air which flies principally from London Luton to Eastern Europe.

WOW air was founded by Skuli Mogensen in 2011. It engaged in an aggressive expansion to capture connecting traffic between North America and Europe, with the ambition to be the “Dubai of the North Atlantic”. It has to be said this never quite made sense. Many of the city pairs it offered were already served by direct flights and there were already ample one-stop connections between Europe and North America.

WOW air was catching up Icelandair in terms of market share at Keflavik airport. However, aggressive fare competition and expansion had hit its yields. It had no fuel hedging strategy. A plan to raise $200-300m in an Initial Public Offering had been abandoned. WOW air has also suspended a very large number of transatlantic routes, some a matter of months after launch.

Last year, Icelandair announced it was to buy WOW air in all share transaction which valued WOW air at around $18m. However, this was abandoned.

WOW air announced last November that it had reached an agreement in principle for an investment from private equity firm Indigo Partners LLC. However, it announced on Thursday 21 March that Indigo Partners had withdrawn its interest. Talks with Icelandair were to resume with a deadline of Monday 25 March.  However, WOW air announced on Sunday 24 March that these had been ended without agreement.   WOW air issued a second announcement on Sunday that it was to enter into discussions with bondholders and creditors on a restructuring which could include a debt for equity swap.  Whilst bond holders had agreed to this, it was clearly not sufficient.

Advice for passengers

The Civil Aviation Authority is not responsible for regulating WOW air.  However, general guidance is available on its website.

The Icelandic Transport Authority has also issued a statement with general guidance for passengers.

For passengers who have purchased flights that have been cancelled, the best advice is to contact your credit company for a refund.

In the absence of any official rescue effort co-ordinated by the Icelandic Government, rival airlines may also announce “rescue fares” for passengers who are mid-way through their journeys in the coming days.

Update

Special “rescue” fares for stranding passengers are available from easyJet, Icelandair and Virgin Atlantic.

Flybmi Suspends Operations

Flybmi, formerly known as bmi regional, has suspended operations with immediate effect.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Flybmi aircraft
Flybmi aircraft (Image Credit: Fly bmi)

Flybmi, formerly known as bmi regional, has suspended operations with immediate effect.

The following statement was published on its website shortly after 18:30 GMT on Saturday 16 February 2019.

Press Release: 16 February 2019

British Midland Regional Limited, the East Midlands-based airline which operates as flybmi, has today announced that it has ceased operations and is filing for administration.

Flybmi operates 17 regional jet aircraft on routes to 25 European cities.

All flights have been cancelled with effect from today. Customers who booked directly with flybmi should contact their payment card issuer to obtain a refund for flights which have not yet taken place. Customers who have booked flybmi flights via a travel agent or one of flybmi’s codeshare partner airlines are recommended to contact their agent or airline for details of options available to them. Customers who have travel insurance should contact their travel insurance provider to find out if they are eligible to claim for cancelled flights and the procedure for doing so.

A spokesperson for flybmi said:

“It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement today. The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme. These issues have undermined efforts to move the airline into profit. Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe. Additionally, our situation mirrors wider difficulties in the regional airline industry which have been well documented.

“Against this background, it has become impossible for the airline’s shareholders to continue their extensive programme of funding into the business, despite investment totalling over £40m in the last six years. We sincerely regret that this course of action has become the only option open to us, but the challenges, particularly those created by Brexit, have proven to be insurmountable.

“Our employees have worked extremely hard over the last few years and we would like to thank them for their dedication to the company, as well as all our loyal customers who have flown with us over the last 6 years.”

Bmi Regional employed a total of 376 employees based in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.

Flybmi operated a fleet of Embraer 135 and 145 aircraft. It operated just one schedule route from London, Stansted to Derry. It also had a larger presence at UK regional airports, notably Bristol, as well as Newcastle and Aberdeen.

The airline was formerly a subsidiary of bmi British Midland. It was sold to private investors in 2012 when bmi was acquired by International Airlines Group from Lufthansa.

The operating company, British Midland Regional Ltd, is ultimately owned by Airline Investments Ltd. This company also owns Loganair which is not affected by this news.

This, along with the acquisition of Flybe by the Connect Airways consortium, is not good news for many UK regional airports. It points to considerable weakness in the market for point-to-point regional jet services. It does also mean the final end of the bmi name.

At the time of writing there hasn’t been a response from the Civil Aviation Authority. However, guidance should be available shortly in its website.

For passengers who have purchased flights that have been cancelled, the best advice is to contact your credit company for a refund. Rival airlines may also announce “rescue fares” in the coming days. A full list of FAQs has also been published at the foot of the Flybmi website.

Update 23:30 GMT Saturday 16 February

The Civil Aviation Authority has provided general guidance for passengers on its website.

Eastern Airways confirmed on its Twitter feed that its Flybe franchise service between Norwich and Aberdeen (which was operated with Flybmi aircraft) is not affected by today’s news and continues as normal with alternative aircraft.

Update 17:00 GMT Sunday 17 February

British Airways is offering special fares for Flybmi passengers who need to return home.

Fares are available between London and Aberdeen, Belfast, Billund, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Newcastle, and Oslo. These must be booked by telephoning BA directly and quoting your Flybmi booking reference.

These fares are available for travel up to Sunday 3 March 2019.

easyJet is offering a special fare between Bristol and Paris Charles de Gaulle for passengers who need to return home. This is available for booking up to Wednesday 27 February for travel up to Sunday 17 March 2019. Full details are available from easyJet.

Loganair has announced it is to takeover a number of former Flybmi routes:

Aberdeen to Bristol, Esberg and Oslo from Monday 4 March; Newcastle to Brussels and Stavanger from Monday 25 March. These will be available for booking at Loganair from Monday 18 February.

Update Monday 18 February

The accountancy firm BDO has been appointed administrators of Flybmi. Passengers should continue to follow guidance on the Flybmi website. Creditors and employees should follow guidance from BDO.

What’s Happening At WOW Air?

WOW air is in the process of securing new funding after its planned acquisition by Icelandair has been cancelled.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Wow air
Wow air (Image Credit: Wow air)

There’s been a lot of news about WOW air recently, so it’s useful to summarise where the airline is, specifically with regard to funding.

WOW air was founded by Skuli Mogensen in 2011. In recent years it engaged in an aggressive expansion to capture connecting traffic between North America and Europe, with the ambition to be the “Dubai of the North Atlantic”. Passengers have increased five fold over the past three years to reach an estimated 3.6 million this year.

It was catching up Icelandair in terms of market share at Keflavik airport and had ambitions to overtake it next year. However, this had all come at a cost. Aggressive fare competition and expansion had hit its yields. It has no fuel hedging strategy and so was exposed to rises in fuel prices. A plan to raise $200-300m in an Initial Public Offering has been abandoned. This has not escaped the attention of WOW air’s suppliers which have been demanding tighter credit terms, placing considerable pressure on the airline.

Icelandair Acquisition

Earlier this month, Icelandair announced it was to buy WOW air in all share transaction which valued WOW air at around $18m.

This was subject to the approval of Icelandair shareholders, which was due to happen at the end of this month. Both Icelandair and WOW air have confirmed that the necessary approvals could not be obtained in time and the acquisition has been abandoned.

It has to be said there were aspects of the merger that didn’t make sense, namely maintaining separate brands when there was significant network overlap and the lack of scope for synergies given Icelandair operates Boeing aircraft and WOW air operates Airbus aircraft.

Indigo Partners Investment

WOW air has announced late Thursday 29 November that it has reached an agreement in principle for an investment from private equity firm Indigo Partners LLC.

The terms of the investment have not been disclosed. This is also subject to the completion of due diligence.

Update: WOW air published its financial results for the 9 months to 30 September 2018 late on Friday 30 November. It reported a loss of $33.6 million for the period. The airline confirmed its ability to continue to trade as a going concern is dependent on it raising additional capital.
Continue reading “What’s Happening At WOW Air?”

Cobalt Air Suspends Operations

Cobalt Air has suspended operations with immediate effect, meaning all its flights between London, Athens and Larnaca are cancelled.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Cobalt Air (Image Credit Cobalt Air)
Cobalt Air (Image Credit Cobalt Air)

Cobalt Air has suspended operations with immediate effect.

The airline flew from London Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted to Larnaca. It also flew from London Gatwick to Athens.

Local media in Cyprus had reported on Wednesday evening that the airline was facing financial difficulties. The airline has now confirmed that all flights are now suspended as of 21:50 BST / 23:50 EEST Wednesday 17 October 2018.

Cobalt regrets to announce that it will be cancelling all Flights as of 23:50pm on October 17, 2018 due to indefinite suspension of Cobalt’s operations. As a result, future flights or services provided by Cobalt will be cancelled and will no longer operate.

Passengers who have un-flown tickets are instructed not to go to Larnaca Airport or any departure airport tomorrow, 18 October 2018 as no Cobalt flights will operate and no Cobalt staff will be present.

For refunds, please contact your credit card provider or Travel Agent.

We sincerely apologise once again and would like to thank our very loyal customers for their support over the last two years of Cobalt operations.

It began scheduled passenger flights in 2016 and operated a fleet of 2 Airbus A319 and 4 Airbus A320 aircraft in a two class configuration to more than 20 destinations.

Advice for affected passengers

As Cobalt Air is not regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority, it will not be arranging repatriation flights for passengers who need to return to the UK.

However, as it did with the collapse of Primera Air, the CAA may provide general guidance shortly on its website.

If you booked a flight with Cobalt Air through a travel agent, the best advice is to contact them in the first instance.

If you have booked a flight directly with Cobalt Air, then you will need to contact your credit card company to obtain a refund.

If you are stranded and need to book a new flight home, you should contact your travel insurer in the first instance.

With the collapse of Primera Air earlier this month, this is a salutatory reminder of the importance of both having travel insurance and booking flights on a credit card to mitigate the impact of airline failure.
Continue reading “Cobalt Air Suspends Operations”

Primera Air Suspends Operations

Primera Air has suspended operations from Monday 1 October 2018. The Civil Aviation Authority will not be arranging repatriation flights for UK passengers.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

Primera Air
Primera Air

Primera Air has today, Monday 1 October 2018, suspended all operations with immediate effect.

Its scheduled transatlantic flights today from London Stansted Flight PF41 to Newark and Flight PF47 to Washington Dulles have been cancelled.

Primera Air has been in operation since 2004. It only entered the consciousness of the UK travelling public over the past year with the launch of transatlantic flights.

By any measure, its transatlantic operations had got off to a difficult start. Flights from Birmingham were suspended shortly after launch. At Stansted, the airline had to lease aircraft to cover late deliveries of new Airbus A321 aircraft, with some flights carrying very substantial delays. Late aircraft substitutions also meant that some flights had to stop in Reykjavik for refuelling.

This had not deterred Primera Air’s ambitions. It had planned to launch transatlantic flights from Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt and Madrid next summer.

This year has proved to be a difficult one for small transatlantic airlines. Norwegian has cancelled all transatlantic flights from Belfast and Edinburgh. It has also had to wet lease aircraft to cover some flights from London Gatwick.

Whilst low cost long-haul airlines have proven that there is a market for an unbundled long-haul economy product, they have illustrated how difficult it is for small airlines to manage long-haul operations. They do not have the schedules and fleets, nor the alliance and joint-venture partners, to cover aircraft availability issues.

Repatriation Flights & Rescue Fares

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has issued the following guidance for passengers who have booked flights with Primera Air.

Put simply, as Primera Air is not regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority it will not be arranging any repatriation flights.

For passengers who have booked flights, the best advice is to contact your credit company. For passengers who need to return home, your travel insurer may be able to assist.

In the past when airlines have collapsed, other airlines have announced “rescue fares” where you can buy a ticket for the same price as your original fare. These may be announced in the coming days.

Update Tuesday 2 October 2018

A number of European airlines have offered special fares for routes matched by Primera Air. In some cases you will need to provide evidence of an existing reservation with Primera Air at the time of booking and possibly at check-in.

British Airways is offering special fares, but only for those who are stranded and need to return to London. These can only be booked by contacting BA directly.

Norwegian is offering a discounted fare for London Gatwick – New York JFK for travel up to 14 October 2018. This can only be booked by calling +47 210 16771.

Ryanair is offering special fares from London Stansted to Malaga, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. These are available up to midnight Thursday 4 October for travel up to March 2019. These can be booked through Ryanair

Virgin Atlantic is offering a distressed traveller fare. This is available by calling 0344 8747747. Bookings can be made up until 16 October 2018, for travel available to 31 October 2018.

Continue reading “Primera Air Suspends Operations”

VLM Airlines in liquidation; London City – Antwerp cancelled

VLM Airlines has entered into liquidation and it has immediately suspended all operations.

London Air Travel » Former Scheduled Airlines

FlyVLM Fokker 50 turboprop (Image Credit: VLM Airlines)
FlyVLM Fokker 50 turboprop (Image Credit: VLM Airlines)

VLM Airlines has yesterday, Friday 31 August 2018, entered into liquidation.

The decision was made by the majority shareholder in the airline and has been confirmed on its website.

SHS Aviation B.V., the majority shareholder of the N.V. SHS Antwerp Aviation (VLM), today decided at an extraordinary general assembly to dissolve the Belgian airline and to liquidate it.

Earlier this month it was announced that VLM would discontinue the connections to Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cologne-Bonn, Maribor, Munich and Rostock and that VLM would henceforth focus on business charter flights and the Antwerp-London City Airport and Antwerp-Zurich routes. Also the scheduled flights from Antwerp to London City and Zurich are now cancelled.

The settlement takes effect immediately. Youri Steverlynck and Birgitta Van Itterbeek (Monard Law) were appointed as liquidators. They are responsible for the contacts with potential buyers.

SHS Antwerp Aviation N.V. is a subsidiary of the Dutch investment company SHS Aviation B.V., which is owned 60% by Dutch investors and 40% by Chinese investors. SHS Antwerp Aviation N.V. is developing airline activities under the trading name ‘VLM’. VLM employs 85 people.

The airline has therefore suspended operations and all future flights are cancelled. VLM flew from London City to Antwerp, a route it inherited from CityJet a little under 12 months ago.

If you do have a future booking with VLM, then the best advice is to contact your credit card company for refund.