Airlines That Won't Be Taking To The Skies Again
It is normal for a small handful of airlines to close up every year. However, due to the pandemic, there have been a lot more closures. Thankfully, the eleven major airlines in the United States have remained intact, but smaller regional carriers have not been as lucky. There has been an unprecedented drop in passengers and a shortage of workers. Many airlines have had to cancel flights because they don't have pilots or flight attendants. These airline closures have cost thousands of jobs in the industry.
Compass Airlines was founded in 2005 and was a Minneapolis-based carrier. During its fifteen years, the airline operated more than 1.5 million flights. At the airline's peak, it operated sixty-two aircraft with more than two thousand employees.
Sadly, Compass ceased operations in 2020 because of reduced travel demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, their ownership's failed attempts to secure additional flying played a role in the shutdown.
ExpressJet Airlines was founded in 1986 and was a regional airline. It had been contracted by major airlines such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. A previous pilot described the airline as reliable and professional to the end.
The airline even earned the nickname 'SureJet.' In addition, the carrier had a small stint as an independent airline selling its own tickets and flying its own routes. Unfortunately, the airline ceased operations in 2020.
Ernest Airlines was an Italian airline based in Milan. At one time, the airline operated several aircraft to more than twenty destinations. Its slogan was 'Fly with style in great company.'
The airline served European destinations, but sadly, it came to an end. The airline ceased operations in 2020 because of a lack of required guarantees. The airline was only in operation for five years.
AtlasJet airline was a Turkish airline based in Istanbul. The airline was initially called AtlasGlobal but was changed to AtlasJet in 2015. It operated scheduled domestic and international passenger services and charter flights.
However, the airlines filed for bankruptcy in 2020, and operations ceased. They had just resumed operations, but due to the pandemic, it couldn't continue.
Trans States Airlines
Trans States Airlines first began operations as Resort Air in 1982. It was an independent commuter air carrier. However, in 1985, the company entered into an agreement with Trans World Airlines.
Then in 1989, it finally became known as Trans States Airlines. Unfortunately, the airline ceased operations much earlier than expected due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on aviation.
Air Italy can trace its routes back to the 1960s when it flew under the Meridiana brand. It was an Italian airline reborn in 2018 and was owned by Qatar Airways.
The airline had the first new intercontinental flight launched to New York from Milan in 2018. The airlines' first years saw massive losses, and as a result, the airlines ceased operations in 2020.
Flybe was an independent regional airline in the UK, and it served the furthest and most obscure reaches of the British Isles. It especially served cities that had been shunned by the country's larger carriers.
Virgin Atlantic Airways, Stobart Group, and Cyrus Capital purchased the airline in 2019 to try and save it, but they couldn't keep it from going under. The airlines entered bankruptcy proceedings and ceased operations in 2020 due to never having been strong financially after Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Germanwings was a low-cost airline owned by Lufthansa. It operated independently until 2015 when it was transferred to Eurowings. The airline was started as a way of competing with Ryanair and EasyJet. It suffered a massive public relations disaster when a co-pilot committed suicide by crashing a plane during a scheduled flight from Spain to Germany in 2015.
The crash killed everyone on board, and it was the beginning of the end for the airlines. The airlines ceased operations in 2020 due partially to the pandemic. "Germanwings flight operations will be discontinued. All options resulting from this are to be discussed with the respective unions." ---- Lufthansa.
SA Express Airlines
SA Express, or South African Express Airways, was a state-owned airline based in South Africa. The airline began operations in 1994, and its flights were incorporated within the strategic alliance with South African Airways.
It entered bankruptcy protection in 2020 and ceased operations a couple of months later. At the end of 2020, the company's movable assets, such as the eight Bombardier's and spare parts, were sold via an online auction.
TAME Airlines, Transportes Aereos Militares Ecuatorianos, was founded in 1962 as the flag carrier and the largest airline in Ecuador. The main hub was Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito. The airline provided domestic, international, and charter flights.
Unfortunately, the airline had been struggling for several years, but its difficulties were compounded by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ecuadorian government ceased all operations and decided to liquidate the airline in 2020.
Makani Kai Airlines
Makani Kai Air began operating in 1998 and was an FAA Part 135 scheduled air carrier based in Honolulu, Hawaii. The airline offered passenger service between Honolulu International Airport and Hoolehua Airport.
In addition, Molokai, Kalaupapa Airport, Molokai, Kahului, Maui, and Princeville Airport, Kauai. In 2020, the airline merged with Mokulele Air, but the pandemic crippled traffic in Hawaii due to Covid-19.
Level Airlines began operations in 2017 and was a low-cost airline that was started by the International Airlines Group. The airline was created to rival the likes of Norwegian and Wow Air on transatlantic and intra-European routes.
The airlines flew from Barcelona and Paris to cities across Europe and across the Atlantic to the Americas. However, the airline ceased operations in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
NokScoot Airlines was a Thailand-based low-cost airline. The airline operated medium to international long-haul services out of Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport.
Sadly, the airline went out of business in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic. The airline was six years old and was a result of a partnership between Scoot and Nok Airlines. The decision to cease operations left four hundred and fifty employees out of work.
LIAT, Leeward Islands Air Transport Services, was founded in 1956 and was a Caribbean regional airline. It began operating between Antigua and Montserrat but had been posting losses before the pandemic.
However, the airline ceased operations in 2020 due to the pandemic and announced LIAT would be liquidated following increased debt and the economic impact of Covid-19.
Cathay Dragon Airlines
Cathay Dragon Airlines was a Hong Kong-based international, regional airline and was founded in 1985. Its maiden flight was in 1985 from Hong Kong to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. It operated a scheduled passenger network to around fifty destinations in fourteen countries and areas across Asia.
It was announced in 2020 by Cathay Pacific that as part of the restructuring due to the pandemic, Cathay Dragon would cease operations immediately. The majority of the cabin crews, pilots, and staff at the regional subsidiary were laid off.
Laudamotion Airlines was founded in 2004 as Amira Air and served European and international destinations. The airline was taken over by Formula One driver Niki Lauda in 2016 and was owned by the Ryanair Group.
It operated chartered business flights with a fleet of business jets, and then they added passenger flights. However, in 2020, Lauda ceased all operations and handed over all its assets to Lauda Europe.
Austral Airlines was founded in 1971 and was a domestic airline of Argentina, which is the sister company of Aerolineas Argentinas. Austral was the second-largest domestic scheduled airline in the country, and it was based in Buenos Aires.
The airline serviced Argentina and neighboring countries. Unfortunately, Argentina's Austral ceased operations in 2020 after a merger with the country's flag carrier, Aerolineas Argentinas.
German Airways was founded in 1974 as WDL Flugdienst. It was changed to German Airways in 1991 and was a German charter and wet-lease aircraft operator.
In addition, it was the aerial advertising and sightseeing flight branch. Unfortunately, the charter airline ceased operations in 2020 due to the pandemic. At least twelve hundred employees were affected by the closure.
Montenegro Airlines was founded in 1994 and was the flag carrier of Montenegro in Podgorica. The airline operated flights throughout Europe, serving eighteen destinations, including France, Denmark, Italy, Russia, Germany, Serbia, Austria, and Switzerland. Sadly, the airline ceased operations in 2020 because it accumulated heavy losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The airline stated, "The Montenegrin government's decision to shut down our company will have a negative impact on the entire aviation sector in the country. We would like to inform the public that starting tomorrow, December 26, 2020, we are completely suspending all operations."
Thomas Cook Airlines
Thomas Cook Airlines was founded in 2007 and was a British airline based in Manchester, England. The airline served leisure destinations worldwide from its main bases at Manchester Airport and Gatwick Airport. Thomas Cook Airlines filed for bankruptcy and announced that all future flights and trips were canceled as a result.
They ended up stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers and triggered a large repatriation effort. Thomas Cook had an old-fashioned model of selling package deals on flights and hotel rooms. Other contributing factors to the airline's demise were struggling to compete with online rivals and low-budget upstarts.
PAWA Dominicana Airlines
PAWA Dominicana Airlines was founded in 2003 and was the international flag carrier of the Dominican Republic. It was a subsidiary of Pan American Airways and served flights between Santo Domingo and other Caribbean and U.S. destinations.
It was the first Dominican airline in several years to offer commercial flights to the United States. However, the airline ceased operations in 2018 due to the airline's serious financial troubles, leaving many passengers stranded.
OneJet was founded in 2015 and operated as a public charter airline out of Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. It flew small jets on regular routes for business travel.
However, they failed to purchase another charter business and had a lien placed on the company for more than six hundred thousand dollars in unpaid taxes by the federal government. OneJet announced a temporary suspension in 2018, but it hasn't operated since.
Fly Jamaica Airways
Fly Jamaica Airways was founded in 2011 and was a Jamaican airline based in Kingston, Jamaica. The airline had routes to North America, with its inaugural flight being from Kingston to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in the U.S.
In addition, it began direct flights between Guyana and Cuba in 2017. Part of the airline's demise was due to a crash landing and being sued by passengers. However, due to financial problems and a lack of aircraft, the airline ceased operations and laid off all of its staff in 2019.
WOW Air was founded in 2012 and was an Icelandic ultra-low-cost carrier based in Reykjavik. The airline flew between Iceland, Europe, and North America. They offered flights for as low as two hundred dollars, but they did charge for refreshments, luggage, and relative comfort.
The airline had more than one thousand employees, eleven planes, and millions of passengers by 2018 but had been struggling with finances and consumer complaints. WOW Air ended up declaring bankruptcy and ceasing operations in 2019.
California Pacific Airlines
California Pacific Airlines was founded in 2009 and was an American regional airline based in Carlsbad, California. However, the airline struggled to get certification from the FAA and securing a fleet and routes.
They finally received everything they needed and began operating commercial services in 2018, with nonstop flights between McClellan-Palomar Airport. Unfortunately, the airline had a bad reputation and was plagued with cancelations and delays. The airline ceased operations in 2019 due to a nationwide pilot shortage.
Insel Air was founded in 2006 and was a Dutch Caribbean carrier based in Maduro Plaza, Willemstad. The airline served five destinations throughout the Caribbean, and South America. Over time the company grew, adding to its fleet and list of destinations, becoming the principal airline of the Dutch Caribbean.
However, things started turning bad when the airline couldn't recover millions of dollars of the funds needed to upgrade its operations. The airline suffered from safety concerns, poor customer reviews, and groundings. A court declared the company bankrupt and ceased operations in 2019.
Aerolineas De Antioquia
Aerolineas de Antioquia was founded in 1987 and was a regional airline based in Medellin, Colombia. In 2003, it became a commercial air service company, allowing it to access new routes.
It provided flights to about twenty destinations in Colombia, but ADA suffered from poor customer reviews and a reputation for cancelations. Unfortunately, after thirty-two years, all operations were suspended in 2019, stating it was due to unmanageable operating costs and dwindling traffic.
Air Philip was founded in 2016 and was a short-lived South Korean airline. The airline flew on domestic and international routes and was based in Seoul. It started flying just between Seoul and Gwangju but had plans to expand service internationally, trying to boost tourism in Korea's southwestern province of Jeolla.
At the end of 2018, it began scheduling flights to Russia and Japan, but by March of 2019, all operations ceased, claiming financial difficulties.
Jet Airways was founded in 1992 and was an Indian international airline based in Delhi, NCR. It was actually one of the largest airlines in India, with more than three hundred flights every day to seventy-four destinations.
The airline was struggling and a last-ditch effort to obtain emergency funding failed. They attributed the financial struggles to high oil prices, market saturation, and depreciation of the rupee. The airline ceased operations in 2019.
Flybmi was founded in 1987 and was a British regional airline that operated flights across the UK and Europe. The airline used seventeen small jet aircraft and had routes to twenty-five cities. It tried to attract business travelers but found low demand for its service, flying most of the time with half-filled airplanes.
Sadly, in 2019, the airline ceased all operations and left almost four hundred people without jobs. The company blamed the failure on high costs, the uncertainties posed by Brexit, and a competitive market.
Germania was founded in 1978 and was a privately owned German airline based in Berlin. It started focusing on charter operations and then became a scheduled carrier. "Unfortunately, we were ultimately unable to bring our financing efforts to cover a short-term liquidity need to a positive conclusion." ------ Karsten Balke.
It flew routes throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, carrying about four million passengers a year. The company declared insolvency in 2019 and ceased operations, blaming high fuel costs and currency fluctuations for its demise.
Primera Air was founded in 2003 and was a Danish airline. The airline provided flights from Northern Europe to more than forty destinations in the Middle East, North America, and the Mediterranean. When the airline was first founded, it was known as JetX and was founded in Iceland.
The airline announced new routes and tickets at low prices and, a few weeks later, declared bankruptcy. All operations ceased in 2018, blaming its demise on delayed deliveries of new aircraft and costs. It left thousands of passengers stranded throughout Europe after the sudden announcement.
JETGO Airlines was founded in 2011 and was a regional airline and air charter based in Queensland. It operated passenger services in the Eastern states of Australia and operated a fleet of Embraer Regional Jets.
The airline took on 'special missions' and sometimes even leased out its aircraft. It received good ratings but was later forced into bankruptcy, owing more than seventeen million dollars. All operations ceased in 2018.
Tajik Air dated back to 1924 and was an airline in Tajikistan based in Dushanbe. Its predecessors dated back to 1930, when it was part of the Soviet 'Aeroflot.' The airline was reorganized in 2009, and at its peak, it had five hundred employees.
It flew international routes to Iran, China, India, Turkey, and several other Russian cities. The airline's demise came from debt and competition from Simon Air. The airline ceased all operations in 2019.
Asian Express Airline
Asian Express Airline was founded in 2011 and was a Tajikistani charter airline. It was based in Dushanbe and operated both international and domestic services.
The airline was involved in an expanding bus transport business and made regular flights to Russia. Unfortunately, all operations were suspended in 2019. Sadly, another airline was grounded.
NextJet was founded in 2002 and was one of the largest regional airlines in Sweden. It was based in Solna Municipality, near Stockholm. It served most of its domestic destinations from Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.
It provided only economy class service, but Sweden's Transport Agency revoked its regular license because of its financial straits. The airline received subsidies from local governments, but it just couldn't survive. All operations ceased in 2018.
Dart Airlines was founded in 1997 and was a Ukrainian airline based in Kyiv. The airline offered scheduled and charter flights for passengers and cargo. In addition, they offered aircraft leasing. It flew regular routes from Ukraine to Greece, Montenegro, Albania, and Georgia.
However, the airline was forced by the Ukrainian government to suspend services in 2018, pending an investigation into the airline's alleged sale or lease of airplanes to Iran and Syria. The airline ceased all operations in 2018.
VLM Airlines was founded in 1992 and was a Belgian airline that was based in Deurne. It was famous for its Antwerp-London City route, the London City airport being a central and convenient location. It flew to several other European cities and promoted itself as Europe's leading 'business airline.' The airline offered fresh meals on board and drinks in real glasses.
However, VLM filed for bankruptcy, and in 2018, it ceased all operations. "SHS Aviation B.V., the majority shareholder of the N.V. SHS Antwerp Aviation (VLM), today decided at an extraordinary general assembly to dissolve the Belgian airline and to liquidate it." ----- VLM Spokesperson.
Cobalt Air was founded in 2015 and was a Cypriot airline based in Nicosia. The airline took its first flight on June 1, 2016, from Larnaca to Athens. It was an award-winning startup, and the airline emerged to fill the gap left when Cyprus Airways ended its service in 2015.
The airline was Cyprus' largest airline, with six aircraft, two hundred staff, and twenty-three destinations. However, after just two years of operation, Cobalt announced the suspension of all of its flights. All operations ceased in 2018, and its demise was blamed on overcapacity and tight margins within its market.
SkyWork Airlines was founded in 1983 and was a Swiss airline based in Belp. The airline primarily operated scheduled flights to destinations across Europe. It was started as a flight school and then started flying economy class routes in 2009.
The airline received a high rating from its passengers, but it was struggling with unmanageable debt, its failure to attract new investors, and the suspension of its license. SkyWork declared bankruptcy and ceased all operations in 2018.
PrivatAir was founded in 1977 and was a Swiss airline based in Meyrin. It operated business jets and scheduled flights for major airlines. In addition, it operated pilot and crew training facilities. The airline built its brand around "distinctive tailor-made service."
The airline was struggling from financial troubles, which were deepened when Lufthansa ended a lease arrangement for the use of PrivatAir planes. In 2018, the authorities suspended the airline's license, and just two months later, the airline announced it was ceasing all operations and filed for insolvency.
Small Planet Airlines
Small Planet Airlines was founded in 2007 as FlyLaL Charters and was a Lithuanian leisure airline based in Vilnius. In 2010, the airline was rebranded and named Small Planet Airlines. It was authorized for flights to Spain, Greece, Italy, and other countries.
In 2018, the airline announced it was entering a restructuring process because of financial problems and filed for bankruptcy. Its demise was blamed on the losses accumulated by its German and Polish subsidiaries. Its license was suspended in November 2018, and all operations ceased.
Saratov Airlines was founded in 1931 and was a Russian airline based in Saratov. The airline was the first Russian operator of Embraer E-Jets. It originally flew planes for agricultural operations and later, for flying throughout Russia.
However, there was a plane crash in 2018, killing all seventy-one people on board. The airline was ordered to shut down due to citing violations found in the inspections that followed the crash. In 2018, the airline ceased operations after the Russian aviation authority wouldn't renew its operating certificate.
U.S. Airways was founded in 1937 and was first called All American Aviation. It was considered among the world's largest airlines and was officially named U.S. Airways in 1997. It flew a wide domestic and international network from its hubs at Philadelphia, Charlotte, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. airports.
In 2009, U.S. Airways Flight 1549 landed on the Hudson River after suffering engine failure. Everyone survived the incident, and it has since been called the "Miracle on the Hudson." In 2013, the airline merged with American Airlines and formed the largest airline. The final U.S. Airways-branded flight landed in 2015. "We definitely wanted to give a nod to U.S. Airways and everyone that helped us build this airline. We wanted to make it a special experience for employees and customers." ----- Martha Thomas.
Continental Airlines was founded in 1937 and was a major American airline based in Texas. The original airline was responsible for many historic 'firsts' like hiring the first African-American pilot to work for any major U.S. carrier and flying the first non-stop route over sixteen hours.
In 2010, Continental and United Airlines merged and became United Continental Holdings. In 2012, the last Continental Airlines flight took off from Phoenix to Cleveland.
Midwest Airlines was founded in 1984 and was a U.S.-based airline based in Wisconsin. The airline had set itself apart from competitors by offering generous, free hot meals when other airlines were cutting back on amenities.
It was well-known for its famous warm chocolate chip cookies, which were baked and served onboard every flight. However, Midwest Airlines merged into Frontier Airlines and ceased to exist in late 2010.
ATA Airlines was founded in 1973 but began scheduled operations in 1986, with flights from the Midwest to Florida. It was formerly known as American Trans Air and was a low-cost scheduled service and charter airline. It operated flights throughout the U.S. mainland and Hawaii, Portugal, and Puerto Rico.
In addition, it offered military and commercial charter flights around the world. In 2008, the airline filed for bankruptcy and ceased all operations. It stated that it suffered financial setbacks following the economic effects of September 11, 2001. It was purchased by Southwest Airlines.
Aloha Airlines was founded in 1946 and was an American airline based in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was created at the end of World War II and after the purchase of military surplus planes. The airline operated flights between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii, as well as other Pacific islands.
Unfortunately, Aloha Airlines declared bankruptcy in 2008 and ceased all operations. "At Aloha, it's more than just a job. We were more truly like a family. Everybody always knew everybody, so it's good we can all catch up right now. We really truly cared about each other. Whether you're a pilot, mechanic, office worker, or ticket agent, we all were friends. Everyone was really friends with everybody." ------ Duane Tanaka.
Kingfisher Airlines was founded in 2003 and was an airline group based in India. It started its commercial operations in 2005, and up until 2011, it had the second largest share in India's domestic air travel market. Its international service featured a bar in first class, full-size pillows in economy, and top-of-the-line entertainment systems.
However, the airline experienced constant losses and ran into high debts. In 2012, India suspended its license and froze its accounts for non-payment of taxes. The airline was forced to cease operations.