Icelandic airline Primera Air is about to go bankrupt. Thousands of passengers are currently stranded in airports across North America and continental Europe.
The airline, founded in 2003 and headquartered in Denmark, has been influential in the Nordic and Baltic tourist industries in recent years. The CEO and largest stakeholder is Andri Már Ingólfsson.
Speaking to Fréttablaðið on Sept. 12, Ingólfsson had indicated that financial restructuring was completed and the company was still growing. “It took a whole year longer than anticipated to set up a new sales and booking system,” he said, “meaning we had to run two systems at the same time, which was extremely expensive.”
However, much of the cost of that was incurred in the years 2016 and 2017, according to Ingólfsson. “These changes are now finished, and we’re looking at an 8% growth in the year 2018 and 15% growth in 2019, where we will maximise our web sales potential.”
Yesterday, however, the board of Primera Air yesterday issued a statement on the airline’s website announcing that due to many unforeseen events, the company is headed for liquidation.
The airline failed to complete a bridge financing measure for 40 million EUR (approximately ISK 5.5. billion), leaving them no alternative but to file for bankruptcy. Additionally, among other things, delivery of new aircraft had been delayed, making a bad situation worse.
The statement furthermore said that after all the hard work by the company’s staff in trying to set things right, the results came as a great disappointment.
Recent months have seen hikes in the global price of oil, leading to great difficulties for many airlines, including the two major Icelandic airlines, Icelandair and WOW Air.
The barrel of crude oil now goes for around USD $80 and has gone up in price by 40% in the last four months. Forecasts indicate the price rise will continue.