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Wow Air plans comeback in October

Shuttered Icelandic ultra-low-cost carrier Wow Air is planning a comeback in October, thanks to a new investor that purchased the brand that ceased operations in March.

Virginia-based USAerospace Associates reached an agreement to purchase the Wow Air brand, and plans to restart operations between Washington Dulles international airport to Keflavik international airport outside of Reykjavik.

USAerospace Associates chair Michele Ballarin detailed the return plans during a press conference on 6 September in Reykjavik, which was recorded by Icelandic news website Visir.

The price of the agreement has not been disclosed, but Ballarin said her company committed $85 million to get the airline back up and running.

“It’s all equity, no debt—we have no debt in the organization,” she said.

The Wow fleet is expected to be smaller than its previous iteration, as Ballarin plans to restart the carrier “carefully” with two aircraft, which would increase to four by the summer season. She has said the airline has secured aircraft and plans to eventually grow the Wow fleet to 10 or 12 aircraft.

Wow Air operated 20 aircraft at the end of 2018, but cut its fleet almost in half to improve its financial position before ceasing operations and cancelling all fights on 28 March. The carrier launched in 2012 by operating single-aisle Airbus aircraft and later expanded its fleet with larger A330s.

“We look forward to seeing our first flight in October,” Ballarin said, noting that the airline's management would split its time between Washington and Reykjavik. It plans to operate hubs in both cities and seeks to focus on air cargo in addition to passenger operations.

The airline still requires certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration and has not yet announced flight schedules.

“While the team at Washington Dulles international airport held an initial meeting last month with Ms. Ballarin and her associates regarding the process for establishing air service at the airport, there are currently no flights scheduled with Wow Air out of Dulles international and no new air service to announce,” Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Micah Lillard tells Cirium.

The airline will keep its name and branding while making some tweaks to the passenger experience. Ballerin said the carrier would give out water bottles and focus on nutritious meals designed by an executive chef. She also hopes the new carrier will offer an airport lounge that would be available to all Wow passengers.

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