(Photo by Beth Hollerich)

WOW Air Ends Worldwide Operations

Low-cost Icelandic carrier WOW air ceased worldwide operations on Thursday, nearly three months after the last flight took off from Pittsburgh.

The carrier posted a message on its website telling passengers of the operational halt and that all flights have been cancelled. The announcement is expected to have minimal, if any, effect on Pittsburgh passengers as WOW’s last flight from Pittsburgh International was Jan. 11.

In the 20 months that WOW served Pittsburgh, more than 111,000 passengers flew to and from Iceland and beyond on the more than 700 arriving and departing flights the airline operated at PIT, with more than 80 percent of seats filled on an average flight.

The carrier cut service to several other cities in the fall of 2018 well before Pittsburgh, including New York JFK, Dallas-Fort Worth, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis and Stockholm, Sweden, among others.

Pittsburgh International Airport officials have said WOW was an important carrier in an overall push to bring additional flights to Pittsburgh, including British Airways’ announcement to start service next week.

When WOW announced its flights to Iceland in 2016, Pittsburgh’s only transatlantic route was seasonal service to Paris. Condor Airlines followed with service to Frankfurt, Germany, which will return for a third summer this year. British Airways made its announcement less than two years later.

To start service from Pittsburgh, WOW received $800,000 to operate for two years. The airport has said WOW owes $187,000, a prorated portion of the incentive, for not completing the deal. Additionally, the airline owes $377,972 in landing and gate fees that would have been waived had the airline finished its contract.

In total, the airport is seeking $776,828, including other unpaid charges. During its tenure, WOW paid the airport approximately $740,000 in rent and other fees.

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