Primera Air files for bankruptcy, ends all flight operations

A brand new Primera Air Airbus A321neo. Photo: © Anna Zvereva

Danish low-cost carrier Primera Air (including all subsidiaries) has filed for bankruptcy and is suspending flight operations with immediate effect. Its operating license will be invalid from midnight – all flights have to be cancelled, without exceptions.

The news were surfaced on social media after the airline’s Director of Flight Operations, Anders Ludvigsson, sent a letter to all crew members of Primera on Monday.

Ludvigsson’s statement was confirmed by the airline just an hour later.

“With a great regret, we must inform you that Primera Air will cease all operations on the midnight of October 1st, 2018 and enter administration process, after 14 years of operations.”
– Primera Air

Another statement, addressed to passengers, was put on the homepage of the airline.

“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.”
– Primera Air

Apparently the Danish airline is no longer able to carry the “higher than expected” costs of running it, and was therefore forced to become yet another airline to cease flight operations in 2018. Exactly one year ago, the same happened to British leisure airline Monarch, which also announced its own shutdown almost – but not quite – out of nothing. Almost, because the news regarding the shutdown might be surprising, but they were unfortunately not unexpected. Primera was expanding fast – too fast to make a profit. And when delivery delays and high maintenance costs hit the airline, it was obvious to many that it could not handle it any longer.

Primera Air Scandinavia and Latvian subsidiary Primera Air Nordic together, were operating a mixed fleet of two Boeing 737-700, eight 737-800 and five just-delivered Airbus A321neo. Primera had 21 aircraft on order, including 18 Boeing 737 MAX 9.

The Airline had intended to operate a number of low-cost transatlantic flights from European hubs, using the ordered 737 MAX aircraft. It had recently announced flights from Madrid, Frankfurt, Berlin and Brussels to North American destinations including New York, Boston and Toronto. These new route announcements caught the attention of many travellers, especially because these four airports are everything but known for intercontinental low-cost flights.

Earlier this year, Primera Air had successfully started flights from London Stansted Airport to Boston, Newark, Washington and Toronto. In July 2018, the airline terminated most flights from Birmingham Airport, where it initially wanted to operate a hand full of intercontinental routes, due to delivery delays with the Airbus A321neo.

Its ultimate goal was to be a competitor to Norwegian and Iceland’s Wow Air, who are currently the largest low-cost carriers on the dense transatlantic market.