The previous year was a rough one for airlines, as some notable companies went missing due to rising costs. With today’s plethora of airlines, consumer expectations are rising - then again, so are costs for the airlines themselves. For one reason or another, some airlines are forced to cease operations. It could be that they have simply run out of money, cannot find sufficient funding, or are no longer receiving the consumer interest they used to. This leaves staff out of a job and passengers’ flights canceled.


Some collapses such as Thomas Cook were well-documented from the moment the airline was in jeopardy until they finally stopped flights in late September of 2019. As for other airlines, perhaps in lesser-documented areas, their respective collapses have fallen somewhat under the radar.

Let’s take a look at the top five airlines which terminated operations in 2019 and slid under the radar.

WOW... They Went Broke Quickly

What started off as a budget airline to allow travelers to visit the nature haven that is Iceland, WOW Air quickly started to find themselves in a bit of trouble. Shortly after commencing their budget-friendly Europe-wide flights, a bright spark in the corporate office suggested they expand to the U.S. and continue to be a low-cost carrier. The airline tried everything in their power but maintaining a low-cost status while operating transatlantic flights was simply not feasible.

According to Simple Flying, financial struggles began in mid-2018, but it was only a matter of time before they were forced to take all planes out of service in March of 2019. Preceding bankruptcy, the likes of Iceland Air and Indigo Partners purchased WOW in an attempt to save the imminent departure of the low-cost carrier. It wasn’t meant to be, and in March of 2019, Iceland Air was the last airline standing which operated flights to and from Iceland.

Soon enough, as recently as November 2019, officials announced the airline was ready to return to service, this time, however, as ‘PLAY’ airlines. If a relaunch does occur, the airline will only service routes across Europe with no plans to expand to the U.S., as was before.

What Was Once The Biggest Airline In India Is No More

Once India’s most popular airline, it can be argued that Jet Airways took a back seat to the collapse of Thomas Cook. In the early part of 2019, Jet Airways announced it had no choice but to cease operations due to a lack of funding.

A hefty fund was taken out of the State Bank of India in an attempt to save the airline, but it was not to be. What was a fleet of 120 aircraft became zero as they had no choice but to be sold to other companies who could keep the monster machines in the skies.

It was clear that the airline was going to hit rock bottom when they canceled thousands of flights between January and March of 2019. It is sad to see a classic airline like this succumb to rising costs, but that is just the world we live in.

What Happened To Latin America's Largest Airline?

Avianca is arguably Latin America’s largest airline, along with its counterpart in Spain. Avianca Brazil had been transporting passengers across the great continent of South America for years, whereas its little cousin Avianca Argentina was only in business for two years prior to falling in. Up until its collapse, Avianca Brazil was the country's 4th largest airline, operating behind the likes of South American giant LATAM, the budget-friendly GOL, and new-comer Air Azul.

Upon ceasing business, it was not well-known that this had actually occurred and as a result, people were not aware of the airlines demise. Some passengers were saying that they had returned to brazil for holidays and had no idea Avianca Brazil and Argentina were no longer in the skies.

Californian Pacific Airlines Didn't Last Very Long

Founded back in 2009, California Pacific Airlines went bust after only a decade. In fact, LA Times reports that the airline spent its first 8 years alone just trying to take-off. Finally, in 2018, it happened... but it was short-lived. At the very beginning of 2019, the Southern Californian company reportedly went broke because of what they say was a pilot shortage. Operations ceased on the West Coast, followed by South Dakota and Colorado soon after.

California Pacific Airlines wasn't very well known and while people knew it existed, no one was well-informed regarding its collapse. Airline executives are pondering a possible return to business sometime in 2020, but this is still up in the air.

Other Airlines Stepped In To Take Over Adria Airways' Routes

After over 45 years of service out of Ljubljana, Adria Airways was forced to call it a day in the latter half of 2019. After not profiting for almost 4 years, a collapse was looming, especially with its small to medium fleet size. Adria was the flag carrier of Slovenia and so with the fall of its airline, the people felt the hit as well.

Not all love was lost, however. Soon after operations ceased, Lufthansa and Swiss Airways quickly stepped in and covered the routes lost by Adria, with Swiss even replacing a route with a train service. Superb Swiss timing and panoramic views of surrounding mountains and lakes from the train… what more could you ask for?