Following the collapse of Primera Air, a Danish low-cost airline owned by the Primera Travel Group, thousands of UK travelers have been left stranded abroad. Cabin crew was also among those left stranded. The Civil Aviation Authority has decided not to offer aid to these passengers who were caught off guard by the budget carrier’s bankruptcy.
The CAA said it had no responsibility to bring these passengers home since Primera Air was not covered by its Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL) protection plan. The agency added that travelers would have to fend for themselves and advised them to contact their travel insurance company or travel agent for help. It also suggested that those who have pending reservations should contact the company to ask for a refund.
“Passengers who booked directly with the company via either a credit, charge or debit card may alternatively be able to make a claim against their card provider,” the CAA said. They are currently trying to estimate the number of British travelers affected by the collapse.
Last year, when British carrier Monarch went bankrupt, the agency brought roughly 110,000 customers home on chartered airplanes. The operation was the UK’s largest repatriation during peacetime.
Primera Air said Tuesday that it was “sad” to announce that it was ending operations after 14 years following “several unforeseen misfortunate events” that seriously affected its financial standing. “On behalf of [the] Primera Air team, we would like to thank you for your loyalty. On this sad day, we are saying goodbye to all of you,” the airline said in a statement.
In the UK, the airline offered flights from Stansted and Birmingham to destinations that included New York, Boston, Washington DC, Toronto, and Málaga. Flights from Manchester to Málaga were scheduled to start later this month. Scheduled flights from Stansted to the US were canceled last night, and passengers scheduled to fly today were told to stay home.
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I was a passenger on the cancelled flight yesterday from Paris to Toronto. Primera Air declared bankruptcy halfway through the boarding process and passengers had to be escorted out of the plane as all operations have ceased. Read about my experience in my article - link in bio! If you know who the crew were, I hope they get this message and know we appreciated everything they did to try and keep everyone calm and have the situation under control. People were angry and taking it out on the crew - I know they were just doing their job and it wasn’t easy managing this customer tornado while also learning they just lost their jobs. Thank you! . . . . . #primeraair #primeraairlines #pf025 #october1st #paris #toronto #paristotoronto #cancelledflight #bankruptcy #lifestories #reallifeexperiences #cabincrew #airhostess #breakingnews #aviation #bbcnews @cnntravel #cnntravel @nbcnews #nbcnews #cp24 @cbcnews #reuters #financialtimes #travelnews #travelling #travelexperience #travelblogger #stories
Primera Air, which had a fleet of 15 planes, primarily transported Scandinavian travelers to Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Egypt. The carrier was reportedly still selling flights yesterday despite its impending demise.
“Passengers will quite rightly be outraged that the airline was still selling tickets right up to the moment it went bankrupt, knowing full well those tickets would never be honored,” said Rory Boland, a travel editor at Which, a consumer group.
Stansted Airport, issued a statement, saying, “Passengers due to travel with Primera Air are advised not to travel to the airport and instead contact the airline directly for the latest information regarding their flight.” And advised travelers to check the airline’s website for updates over the next few days. “Tour operator passengers are kindly suggested to address their tour operators and agents for further information and actions,” the airport added.
Jeanine Arnold, an airlines analyst at Moody’s, said Primera Air’s bankruptcy was “yet more evidence of the challenges faced by European airlines, namely strong competition and increasing fuel prices”.