Unconfirmed numbers of passengers have been left stranded and out of pocket with the sudden collapse of Primera Air.
The Scandinavian low cost carrier had sought to break into the ultra competitive transatlantic sector with flights from Stansted to New York and Washington starting at £149 but announced the shut down of operations yesterday.
The failure comes almost a year after Monarch called in administrators and came three months after flights from Birmingham to New York and Toronto were suspended.
Primera Air was not covered by the Civil Aviation Authority’s Atol Protection scheme which only covers passengers booked on a package holiday.
This means only passengers who booked directly with the carrier with a credit, charge or debit card may be able to make a claim against their card provider.
Affected passengers may also be able to make a claim against their travel insurer.
But those due to travel with the airline and wanting to obtain a refund for unused tickets will need to contact the airline directly.
“Passengers who have travelled will need to make their own arrangements to return home,” the CAA confirmed. “They should contact their travel insurer or travel agent for assistance.”
In guidance issued last night, the aviation regulator added: “If you have booked flights or a holiday that includes flights with a travel firm that holds an Atol and received confirmation that you are Atol protected, the travel firm is responsible for your flight arrangements and must either make alternative flights for you so that your holiday can continue or provide a full refund.
“If you are abroad, it should make arrangements to bring you home at the end of your trip. Contact the Atol travel firm.”
The airline, which has been operating for 14 years and had a fleet of 15 aircraft, confirmed that it had ceased operations and said “unforeseen misfortunate events” in the last two years had led to it falling into administration.
A statement posted on its UK website said: “With a great regret we must inform you that Primera Air will cease all operations on the midnight of October 1, 2018 and enter administration process, after 14 years of operations.
“This is a sad day for all the employees and passengers of Primera Air. The company has been working relentlessly during the last months to secure the long-term financing of the airline. Not being able to reach an agreement with our bank for a bridge financing, we had no other choice than filing for bankruptcy.”
The airline was registered in Latvia, but forms part of the Danish Primera Travel Group.
Primera Travel Group chief executive Peder Hornshoj said: “We are in the same group, but this is nothing to do with the Primera Travel Group tour operator.”
Primera Travel Group is the number three tour operator in Denmark, and trades in Sweden, Finland and Norway.
In 2017, the company lost an aircraft due to “severe corrosion problems” and lost €10 million through the rebuilding process. It said “severe delays of aircraft deliveries” at the start of 2018 led to operational issues and flight cancellations and a €20 million cost in leasing aircraft to fulfil its flights.
The airline’s statement added: “Weighting the potential losses due to future delivery delays, and the added exposure to our partners and lessors, and bearing in mind the difficult environment that airlines are facing now due to low prices and high fuel costs, we have decided to cease operations now, where it will have smaller effect on our clients, due to the timing of the year, rather than increasing the exposure.
“Without additional financing we do not see any possibility to continue our operations.
“This is an enormous disappointment after the incredible hard work and dedication put into building the airline. [The] company wants to sincerely thank all its employees for their hard work and dedication, its clients for years of loyal support and its suppliers for their cooperation during the years.”
More: Primera Air suspends Birmingham transatlantic routes [June 18]
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