Anyone who has followed our articles on Primera Air this year will not be totally surprised to learn that the Icelandic / Latvian / Danish airline filed for insolvency yesterday.
Primera, despite only appearing on the UK scene this year, was actually 15 years old. Its attempt to morph from a small charter airline into a low-cost transatlantic carrier, flying from the UK and Paris, failed badly.
This was partly due to reasons outside its control – the late delivery of the Airbus A321neo aircraft it needed and a massive bill for unexpected corrosion found on one of its aircraft. The long-haul model was to be the same as Aer Lingus is adopting from next year, using small single aisle aircraft with improved engines to fly transatlantic. Whether it would ever have worked from the UK, given APD and the fact that unit costs were presumably higher than using long-haul aircraft, we will never know.
In the short term, passengers were stranded at London Stansted and in the US last night as flights were cancelled. Stansted Airport reportedly impounded one aircraft, presumably due to unpaid bills.
Passengers who bought tickets on a credit card will be protected, although there are reportedly many people out of pocket after Primera cancelled flights during the Summer. Compensation had yet to be paid and reportedly many had been told to rebook themselves and send Primera the bill – a bill which will not now be paid.