Northern murk

Iceland Express has been mentioned in dispatches before. In 2011 it had an eyecatchingly poor record of reliability (though this had improved as 2012 progressed).  And it has also been notable for its business model – it sells flights but doesn’t actually operate them itself – leasing in aircraft and crew from other airlines to operate them instead.

The holding company of Iceland Express owned a couple of real airlines, including Astraeus in the UK, but it let these go bankrupt. Until yesterday, Iceland Express flights were being flown by aircraft belonging to Czech Airlines.

Meanwhile, less than twelve months ago, some senior staff of Iceland Express left to start their own airline, WOW air. There was some speculation at the time that, in the end, the two companies would get “back together” at some point. There was even a scurrilous suggestion that WOW air would take over Iceland Express at the end of the summer season and allow Iceland Express to disappear leaving any debts unpaid.

Yesterday it was announced that WOW air has bought Iceland Express, in a deal that was “not a merger”, to quote the press release. Later on in the day Isavia (the company that runs Iceland’s airports) impounded a Czech-owned Airbus A320 because of unpaid airport fees.

What more can one say? We naturally wish Wow air every success in the future.

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