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The Curse of WOW Air Strikes Again

The Curse of WOW Air Strikes Again
Taylor Rains

The rise and fall of Icelandic aviation has been confusing. From WOW Air, to its re-launch as WAB (We Are Back), to WOW Air 2, and newcomer PLAY, there have been plenty of attempts by the country to sustain an airline. As the newest carrier in the mix, PLAY was hopeful for a speedy start to operations, but they seem to have hit a snag. The company recently took to Facebook to announce that ticket sales will have to be postponed past its original November date – most likely due to insufficient finances.

What Is PLAY?

PLAY is Iceland’s newest low-cost airline, aimed at filling the gaps left behind by WOW Air’s collapse. One Mile at a Time outlined what we know so far about the new carrier:

  • PLAY will operate Airbus A321 aircraft
  • The airline will start operations with two aircraft, with plans to expand to six planes by 2020, and 10 within three years
  • They are close to obtaining an air operator certificate from Icelandic authorities
  • The airline will begin with flights to six European destinations, and flights to North America will be added by spring 2020
  • PLAY’s website is up with basic information, but ticket sales are expected to begin in November
  • 1,000 tickets will be given out for free to celebrate the new airline
  • Arnar Már Magnusson, former VP of Operations at WOW Air, is the appointed CEO of the new airline
  • Athene Capital has invested $40 million

The airline is expected to follow the same business model as WOW Air; however, it plans to maintain a much slower growth pace than WOW Air.

What’s the Snag?

Although PLAY announced they would start ticket sales in November, it looks like that will have to be postponed. The company said in an announcement on Facebook:


PLAY tickets As a new airline on the market, we are very thankful for the great reception. We at PLAY cannot wait to…

Posted by PLAY on Saturday, November 30, 2019

Although unconfirmed, the delay is thought to be due to the lack of local financial investment in the company. So far, Athene Capital has reportedly invested $40 million, but PLAY still needs another $14 million to start operations. Local investors are likely holding off due to the naive profit expectations the first quarter ($575,000) and the high stakes held by the airline’s founders (50%).

Furthermore, the status of the airline’s operating license is still unknown.

View Comments (5)


  1. rylan

    December 11, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Sounds like another disaster of a low cost carrier in action. Starting with 2 planes? So when one is late or a cancellation due to weather or mechanical, there is zero chance of recovery and pax will be stuck for days.

  2. 2P or not 2P

    December 12, 2019 at 1:04 am

    There are no gaps to be filled following Wow Air’s demise. Furhter,iceland already has at least three established sustainable airlines: Icelandair, Flugfelag Islands, Air Atlantic Icelandic.

  3. RaoulM

    December 13, 2019 at 7:17 am

    I look forward to hearing the sob stories from the people who booked on this airline to save a few dollars and then are shocked! when it all collapses, again

  4. DManzaluni

    December 14, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Surely with 11 months to iron out these bugs before ticket sales start in November, it is a bit premature to be writing this sort of deprecatory article?

  5. snidely

    December 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    IF you can cancel hotel res. at last min and don’t have a connecting flite – some people could take chance on a “flaky” airline. I would make res. on a more solid airline coming back.

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