UPDATED (1/6/19): Airline bankruptcies, 2019 list is open
One month and a half into 2019 and we have the first, but surely not the last, airline demise of the year: Germania (of Germany, as it is obvious from the name) ceased operations on Feb 5th.
In order to keep track, as closely as possible, of the airlines that stop operating I have decided to make this post, that will act like an open list that will be updated throughout the year as, inevitably, more airlines go broke.
Airlines that stopped flying in 2018
(this is not an exhaustive list, but I think it gets most of the largest or more relevant ones)
- Primera Air (Denmark)
The transatlantic long haul low cost market proved a bit too tough for Primera. It was expected to be the launch operator of the Airbus A321LR, an honour that then went to Israeli carrier Arkia
- Saratov Airlines (Russia)
One of the World’s few operators of the Antonov An-148 aircraft. This Russian regional airline (based in the city of the same name) had ambitious growth plans and new aircraft on order when tragedy struck. It only lasted a matter of months after one of its An-148 aircraft crashed with no survivors and its AOC was revoked.
- Small Planet Airlines (Lithuania)
A charter and leisure operator with subsidiaries in several countries (the successor to another airline called FlyLaL). It had a fresh, colourful branding that back in the day, we covered in this blog.
- Privat Air (Switzerland)
A charter and ACMI operator with a strong focus on business and VIP flights. It has operated some business-oriented routes on behalf of Lufthansa.
- Skywork Airlines (Switzerland)
Its been tough times for Swiss regional airlines: FlyBaboo, Darwin Airline (after changing hands to Etihad then to Adria Airlines) and now Skywork. All gone.
An airline that aimed to fill the void left by the demise of the old Cyprus Airways and make of Cyprus a major air hub. It had a promising start, but turbulence soon started, including some abrupt managerial changes. Lack of additional funding sealed its fate.
- VLM Airlines
One of the last operators of Fokker 50 aircraft. It went from a profitable niche operation out of Belgium and London City to several changes of ownership and finally a period as charter operator.
- FlyViking (Norway)
A small regional airline in Northern Norway
- Dart Airlines (Ukraine)
Although it had been operating for quite a few years, it is only recently that this Ukrainian airline entered the scheduled market.
- Nextjet (Sweden)
A regional operator in Sweden. As a curiosity it operated Bae ATP aircraft, a not too common type
- OneJet (US)
It attempted to do something quite difficult: operate a hybrid between regular commercial flights and executive jet service. Didn’t work.
- Wataniya Airways (Kuwait)
This airline folded twice. Its latest re-emergence didn’t last long. It had only one operational aircraft, but more than 25 Airbuses on order
- PAWA Dominicana (Dominican Republic)
Any visitor to the Sonesta resort in Maho Beach, Sint Maarten, could tell when the PAWA flight was landing because of the extremely noisy approach of its old MD-80 series jets. No more.
- LC Perú
Declared insolvent just before the end of the year. It operated a domestic network with a mix of turboprops and B737 Classics.
- Bassaka Air (Cambodia)
A small airline (2 A320s) that operated mainly between its home country and China
- Air Bagan (Burma)
An ATR operator with a rather convulse history: hit by US sanctions against Burma a few years ago. First suspended operations in 2015, and later gave up its license in 2018.
- Zoom Air (India)
A small Indian airline operating CRJ200 aircraft. It got its license suspended due to safety concerns.
- Orient Thai Airlines (Thailand)
I just learned about this airline, that was actually operating pretty large aircraft (B747s and B767s, in addition to B737s). Looks like it had more than one brush-off with authorities due to safety and regulatory concerns before finally ending operations
Airlines that stopped flying in 2019
(this is not, by any means, an exhaustive list, feel free to send suggestions if some airline is missing)
- Germania (Germany)
Although little known outside Germany, its fleet of 30 aircraft (+25 on order) makes it hard to classify it as a “small” airline
- California Pacific (US)
A regional airline that operated mainly within California with ERJ145 jets
- Flybmi (UK)
The last remaining vestige of Bmi (British Midland International), once a relatively important player in the British airline industry, that was folded into British Airways in 2012. Bmi’s regional operation was purchased by private investors and continued to operate as an independent entity with Embraer ERJ135/145 until February 2019.
- Insel Air (Curaçao)
A airline that had seen better times. It served the Dutch Antilles and, previously quite a few destinations throughout the Caribbean and South America. It now operated only 3 Fokker 50s.
- Tajik Air (Tajikistan)
This was actually one of the oldest airlines in the World when it ceased operations in January 2019.
- Asian Express Airline (Tajikistan)
Yet another airline from Tajikistan and one that I had not heard about before a reader brought it to my attention.
- WOW (Iceland)
In some ways, a pioneering trans-Atlantic lcc. Perhaps Iceland was two small to support two airlines of a certain size. Its colourful livery will be missed.
- Aerolíneas de Antioquía (Colombia)
A reader has alerted me of the demise of this small Colombian airline that operated a domestic network out of Medellín with Dornier 328-100 aircraft.
- Fly Jamaica Airways (Jamaica)
A one-aircraft airline that operated flights to the US and Canada from Jamaica and Guyana. It was left without aircraft after an emergency landing of its only B757 in November 2018.
- Air Philip (South Korea)
Another airline that I had not heard of before it stopped flying (thanks again to the readers for pointing this one out!). It operated a handful of ERJ145s out of Muan county, in the South-Western corner of South Korea
- Jet Airways (India)
The largest airline so far in this list and not a completely unexpected event, since it had been gradually winding down operations over the last few weeks. The grounding has been labelled as “temporary”, will see what happens. Despite the market’s amazing growth, it looks like it is tough being a full service airline in India.
- Wisdom Airways (Thailand)
A really small airline operating Cessna Caravans out of Chiang Mai. Once again, thanks to readers for pointing this one out!
- Avianca Brasil
With all flights suspended as of May 24, it looks like the ending chapter for the Brazilian subsidiary of the Colombian airline group. This puts an end to the Avianca Brasil’s agony, that had seen the airline drastically reducing the number of routes and aircraft it operated over the last few months.