Nordic LCC Primera Air, the leisure carrier that had hoped to tap into growing demand for low-cost transatlantic air travel, said it was ceasing operations and would enter the administration process after 14 years of operation. The LCC blamed unforeseen problems with its fleet that hit its finances. 

The airline, part of the Primera Travel Group, a tour operator and travel agency business—which was headquartered in Riga, Latvia, and had both a Latvian and a Danish air operator’s certificate—said it would cease all operations at midnight Oct. 1. 

“The company has been working relentlessly during the last months to secure the long-term financing of the airline,” its board said in a statement. “Not being able to reach an agreement with our bank for a bridge financing, we had no other choice than filing for bankruptcy.”

The airline said the 2017 loss of an aircraft from operations to severe corrosion problems was followed by the cost of rebuilding, resulting in a loss of more than €10 million ($11.6 million), it said.  

It blamed disruption to its transatlantic services—which launched earlier this year and had hoped to expand—on aircraft delivery delays. 

“2018 began with a fantastic start of our low-cost, long-haul project with a brand-new Airbus 321neo fleet; however, due to severe delays of aircraft deliveries this ended up being rocky and incredibly problematic: operational issues, cancellations of a number of flights and loss of revenues are just a few to mention.” 

Primera Air also leased additional aircraft to fulfill passenger obligations, bearing additional costs of over €20 million, it said.

In deciding when to end operations, the airline weighed potential losses because of future delivery delays, the added exposure to partners and lessors, as well as the broader airline environment of low prices and high fuel costs, and concluded it would have a smaller effect on clients at this time of year. 

“Without additional financing, we do not see any possibility to continue our operations,” the LCC said. 

The carrier had previously spoken about its ambition to have a fleet of 35 narrowbodies by 2021, including Airbus A321neo and A321neo LRs and Boeing 737 MAX 9s, split between leased and owned aircraft.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk