Following a “challenging year”, Icelandic low-cost carrier Wow Air has announced it will nearly halve its fleet and make route cuts as it continues talks with potential new investor Indigo Partners.

In November, Wow announced it was in discussions with Icelandair about a possible take-over, but the deal was scrapped on mutual agreement when it became apparent that the terms of the sale could not be met.

The next day, Indigo Partners – which also owns Wizz Air, Frontier Airlines, Jetsmart and Volaris – agreed to acquire Wow with the aim of closing the deal ‘as soon as possible’.

Under the restructuring plan, Wow will cut its fleet from 20 to 11 aircraft, all of which will be single-aisle Airbus planes. The airline says it is in talks with lessors to return some of the aircraft, while four A321s will be sold in a transaction that will improve Wow’s liquidity by US$10 million.

Schedule changes will not be made until January 2019, and passengers on flights that are due to be cut will be notified in due course.

Wow is calling the move a “return to its roots as a profitable ultra low-cost airline”.

With the downsizing comes the loss of 111 permanent jobs at the airline. Furthermore, contractors and short-term staff will not be renewed “for the time being”.

Wow CEO and founder Skuli Mogensen commented: “This is the most difficult day in the history of Wow Air. We have dedicated people who have worked hard to make Wow Air a reality and it breaks my heart to downsize the company. However, in order to ensure our future and preserve Wow Air in the long run, we unfortunately must make these drastic measures.”

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