Icelandic budget carrier Wow Air has ceased operations and canceled its flights, leaving passengers stranded on both sides of the Atlantic.
The airline announced the closure in a statement posted to its website on Thursday. It advised passengers to book new flights on other airlines, and said some may be eligible for compensation.
Wow Air CEO Skúli Mogensen told Icelandic state broadcaster RUV that negotiations to save the airline went on until the early morning in Iceland. (See how the story unfolded in real time here.)
“As is normal, people believed we would get the investment,” Mogensen told RUV. “We have been very transparent, but it didn’t happen.”
Mogensen said more than 1,000 passengers had been affected by the grounding of aircraft. He said he didn’t have an exact figure on the number of tickets that had been sold.
“I’m very sorry about this as these are people who have supported us,” said Mogensen. “I’m disappointed not to honor our commitments.”
Saurabh Aggarwal, who was due to fly from Toronto to Reykjavik on Wow Air, described a chaotic scene at Toronto airport.
Aggarwal said customers were given conflicting information about the flight’s status before it was canceled at 10:55 p.m. on Wednesday. He said passengers were not provided with accommodation and no refunds were issued.
“This really scared everyone, at that point we were finally given back our bags and no money as of now has been issued back to me,” Aggarwal told CNN.
It wasn’t until Thursday morning that she received an email from Wow Air informing passengers that the airline had ceased operations and all flights were canceled.
Other affected passengers also criticized Wow Air on social media over the lack of communication.