Primera Air turned many heads when it announced in mid-2017 that it’d start selling tickets between the US and Europe starting at just $99 one-way. Since its transatlantic launch — which one of our TPG reviewers was on board to cover — we’ve seen almost an equal amount of new route announcements and cancellations. And it seems that the $99 fares weren’t enough to fill up aircraft as fares have dropped as low as $63 one-way.
Well, it turns out this ultra-low cost business model hasn’t worked out for Primera Air. Reports surfaced Monday that the airline plans to declare bankruptcy on Oct. 2. Then, in a statement posted on its website Monday afternoon, the airline confirmed that it was ceasing operations on Tuesday:
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.
A separate statement was provided to TPG from Primera Air’s board of directors. Before detailing the airline’s “several unforeseen misfortunate events,” the letter summarizes the situation as:
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.
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 news originally broke when an email from Primera’s Director of Flight Operations Anders Ludvigsson to Primera Air crew members was shared online. In the letter, the director indicates that Airbus’ delay in delivering new aircraft — and the subsequent “high costs for wet lease and cancellations” — created substantial losses for the airline. The owner of Primera Air was unable to secure funding necessary for continuing operations, which is what is leading to the bankruptcy declaration.
The email states that the airline is “working on arranging travel home for crews who happen to be on outstations,” indicating that the airline would cease operations shortly.
TPG reached out to Primera Air to confirm or refute this report, but didn’t receive a response to the request by the time of publication. The airline reached out shortly at 1pm Eastern to confirm the reports are true.
Another report surfaced that Primera Air is being prevented from operating at London’s Stansted Airport (STN) due to unpaid airport fees. TPG was able to refute this report with an airport’s spokesperson. At this time, the two Primera Air aircraft on the ground at Stansted aren’t being prevented from normal operations by the airport.