- Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
- Nordic budget airline Primera Air has become the latest European carrier to go bust.
- The European budget airline sector has been struggling for a while – Monarch went bust last year and Ryanair issued a profit warning this week.
Nordic budget airline Primera Air has become the latest European carrier to go bust, saying all flights were being halted and stranding thousands of passengers.
“On this sad day we are saying goodbye to all of you,” the airline wrote in a note on its website dated September 30. Here’s the message:
- Primera Air/screenshot
Primera was forced to cancel flights earlier this year, citing delays in receiving aircraft from Airbus, but has faced growing complaints about poor service and late refunds. The airline was planning to launch routes from Madrid to New York, Boston, and Toronto next year at prices as low as €149 ($172) each way.
In Europe, legacy airlines have been fighting back against low-cost rivals by operating budget carriers of their own, squeezing an already crowding market and driving fares lower. KLM has Transavia while sister company Air France has launched Joon.
IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, in 2012 took full control of Spanish low-cost airline Vueling, which services destinations across Europe. Last year, IAG launched Level, a low-cost long-haul carrier designed to take on Norwegian and WOW. Lufthansa has been developing its Eurowings and Germanwings low-cost subsidiaries for the past 15 years.
Primera’s collapse comes a year after Britain’s Monarch Airlines went under after falling victim to intense competition for flights and a weaker pound. Air Berlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, filed for bankruptcy protection in August 2017.
Just yesterday, Ryanair, Europe’s biggest airline by passengers, warned that profit for the year would be hit by the fallout from labor strikes and rising fuel prices. The airline said more staff strikes could force the company to issue further profit warnings.