A rising budget airline seems to have met its end. Primera Air, which recently expanded its routes to the U.S., announced that it’s suspending all operations as of October 2, 2018. Primera’s website promises “further updates,” but notes that it is no longer reachable by phone or email.
The vague Primera shutdown announcement stated that service is “suspended,” but seems to indicate that the closure is, in fact, permanent. The Independent reported that Primera passengers at London’s Stansted Airport were notified of the change, and that U.K. travelers would be stranded in the U.S. and E.U. following the airline’s abrupt shutdown. Stansted confirmed the announcement on Twitter:
We have learned this afternoon that @primeraair has ceased all flight operations and will go into administration at midnight tonight. Passengers due to travel with Primera Air are advised not to travel to the airport and instead contact the airline directly. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/0o6kNgn0ZD
— London Stansted Airport (@STN_Airport) October 1, 2018
Other airlines including Delta, British Airways, and Norwegian have announced “repatriation” fares to help stranded passengers. Norwegian is offering tickets 50 percent off base economy fare and with lower taxes, though seats are subject to availability. Norwegian’s offer specifically covers any U.S. or Canadian travelers stranded in Europe by the line’s failure, along with many routes for Europeans stranded in North America or Europe. Affected travelers should contact Norwegian for bookings; proof of a Primera ticket is required.
Anyone holding tickets for future Primera flights should also contact their credit card issuer for a refund.
The 15-year-old airline is the first of the new low-fare transatlantic lines to go under, but it may not be the last. The improved capabilities of the latest A321 and B737 models have encouraged a handful of airlines to try the transatlantic low-fare market for the first time, and the chances are that not all will succeed.
This development will also likely have a chilling effect on the various wannabe lines looking at the transatlantic marketplace.