The Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW Air announced on Thursday that it is ceasing all operations and all its flights have been canceled. The thousands of passengers that found themselves stranded were advised to find flights on other airlines.
WOW also advised travelers who paid via credit card or through a European travel agent that they may be able to retrieve their money through those companies and some passengers may be able to receive compensation from WOW itself.
A number of airlines, including Icelandair, EasyJet, Norwegian and Wizz Air offered special "rescue" fares for stranded passengers. An Icelandic government organization, the International Air Transport Association, activated a contingency plan to aid WOW's passengers on Wednesday night, according to the Iceland Review. The plan included recruiting the assistance of other airlines as well as the reduced "rescue fares."
The Iceland Review also reported that Icelandair stock has risen almost 22% on the Icelandic stock exchange on Thursday. The Icelandair Group, the holding company of Icelandair, held talks in November to acquire WOW but ultimately failed to reach an agreement with its rival airline.
WOW, headquartered in Reykjavik and based out of Keflavik International Airport was founded in 2011 and began operating flights in 2012. It offered budget services in Europe, the US, Canada and the Middle East, including Israel.
WOW had announced in July 2018 that it was suspending its service to Israel from North America via Iceland for "operational, commercial, logistical reasons and considerations." However, it later announced that it would resume flights to and from Israel beginning in the summer of 2019.