Iceland’s recent tourism boom has been largely due to budget carrier WOW Air and its insanely cheap flights, often as low as $99 from the US. But Icelandair and WOW Air, together responsible for 80 percent of travel to and from Iceland, will soon be one and will change the way people travel to Iceland. Yesterday, Icelandair announced that it will be purchasing WOW Air for around $18 million, effectively merging the two competitors. While the two will remain separate brands, Icelandair will be firmly at the helm, and fans of WOW Air may find the airline drastically changed.
Since many cheap flights to Iceland resulted from competition between the two airlines, it’s possible that the $99 WOW Air deals might disappear. Flight paths will also likely change as the airlines merge, and extra routes may be eliminated. On the bright side, WOW Air’s famously low-budget service will likely improve; in-flight food, drinks, entertainment, and customer service can be expected to undergo major upgrades.
The merger will also make Icelandair a more prominent player on the world stage, with funds dedicated to global expansion. Icelandair said in a press release that the “acquisition creates opportunity for both companies to become even better prepared to provide international carriers with strong competition in the international airline market.”
Skúli Mogensen, founder of WOW Air, echoes a similarly optimistic sentiment in an email to employees. He says the merger is best for “our team, our passengers, the future of WOW Air as a low-cost airline, and not least for the travel industry in Iceland.”
H/T: Condé Nast Traveler