This years list is a mix of vanity projects that failed, misguided management that led to unnecessary failure, simple brand name changes, aviation economics, and deliberate targeting by competitors to bring them down. Some were just simple business divorces as partnerships changed. The European market has proven to be especially vicious.
Two stand out of course, Monarch and AirBerlin and its subsidiaries. The US market has largely stabilised as competition has largely vanished and only major airline groups who dominate different route networks face little opposition.
1.Adria Switzerland/Darwin Airline/Etihad Regional
This was a direct result of Etihad’s collapsing “equity partner” strategy – three airlines in Europe went down because of it. Alitalia is still in the sell off stage, but all of AirBerlin went down because Etihad pulled support. Darwin/AdriaSwitzerland ceased operations November 28 and was declared bankrupt on December 12 2017
2.Aeropostal of Venzuela
Venezuela’s self-imposed economic collapse continues to drive business out of the country and airlines are finding it almost impossible to survive, with outlandish currency restrictions and a power mad dictator and his cronies who just won’t let go.
3.Air Carnival (India)
Who? Came and went without anyone really noticing, this one ‘plane operation Died April 5 2017.
4.Air Costa (India)
Died 28th February 2017, had operated five aircraft out of Madras Chennai for four years.
5.Air India Regional
Reverted to its old name, Alliance Air in March 2017.
6, 7, 8 & 9. AirBerlin, BellAir, LGW (Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter), Niki, Germany & Austria
Etihad’s withdrawal of further financial support killed the parent company AirBerlin, which in turn lead to the fall of Bellair, a largely merged into AirBerlin subsidiary, and the Austrian regional subsidiary LGW. NIKI was saved last minute on December 29th 2017, being bought up by IAG subsidiary Vueling.
10. Bluebird Cargo, Iceland
Bluebird Cargo operate 7 734F and 733F, all leased between 2001 and 2017 before becoming Bluebird Nordic – a name change only with a new livery expected.
11. Borajet, Turkey
It’s aircraft were seized on 24 April 2017, despite all the wishes in the world its unlikely to be back
12.Eastern Air Lines (no.2)
No surprise really, who really thought it would last long? The startup process was complicated and long-winded, getting your AOC cancelled for not paying suppliers is fairly terminal. A vanity project that just couldn’t make it. Operated three 737’s at peak, but the 737-700 was quickly withdrawn with safety issues, the 738’s were handed back to lessor after barely 2 years of operational flying, in September 2017, the airline just couldn’t pay its way.
13.Florida West International Airways
Operated up to 5 aircraft at different times including 3 DC-8-61F & 71F’s, ending with 2 763F’s, it shuttered February 28th 2017 when owner Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings cancelled its AOC and transferred everything to ATI.
14. Flugfelag Islands Air Iceland
Became Air Iceland Connect in May 2017 – can you blame them?
15. Flybe – Operated by LoganAir
The partnership divided, LoganAir went back to being itself, one of the most respected small airlines in the world that connects remote parts of Scotland to the UK, also operates the worlds shortest flight at just under 17 seconds…yes seconds!
16. GLO Airlines
Filed for C11 bankruptcy protection but was wound up three months later on July 15th 2017. It was barely 18 months old and operated out of New Orleans.
17. InsellAir – Aruba
Operated out of Queen Beatrix International on Aruba in the Caribbean, from 2012 to November 10 2017. It closed but an ofshoot still operates from Curaçao.
18. Island Air, Hawaii
Operated from 1980 to November 2017, now being bought up and incorporated into Hawaiian Airlines “Ohana by Hawaiian” subsidiary.
19.Kan Air, Thailand
A small regional carrier stopped operating in April 2017.
20.Mega Maldives Airlines
Bart of Mega Global Air/Travel Service Airlines operating separately it shut down in May 2017 with the intention of restructuring, nothing happened.
21. Monarch Airlines
A British tragedy, deliberately targeted by its competitors who saw its weakness, propped up by Boeing desperate to keep its 40 aircraft order alive, its owners didn’t want to put more money in, its management made the wrong decisions right when it mattered. 1966-2017. Always missed. The second largest airline to fail in 2017 after AirBerlin.
22. Starbow Airlines (Accra, Ghana)
One bad accident with its only ex-Air India ATR72-500 it was forced to suspend operations, hopes to return but seems unlikely
23. Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium
Operated its last flight on October 27th 2017, it’s aircraft were divided up amongst the groups subsidiaries or wet leased to Lufthansa Group/Brussels Airlines.
24. Thomson Airways
Ironically it ceased on the same day Monarch did, October 10th, 2017. However this was just a reallocation and re-registration under the TUI brand. RIP Roy Thomson, another iconic British Brand submerged by corporate homogenization.
25. TigerAir Singapore
Merged into Singapore Airlines owned Scoot brand, ceased oeprating as TigerAir July 25th 2017.
26.VECA Airlines – El Salvador
Vuelos Económicos Centroamericanos SA ceased operating January 16th 2017. Blink and you missed it.
27. VIM Airlines, Russia
If you don’t know the right people in Moscow, when trouble comes knocking, the paperwork just gets in the way, every single time. Ceased trading October 15th following a bizarre set of ‘circumstances’, the Government cancelled it’s AOC in November to make sure it wouldn’t come back. Aeroflot may have benefitted.
28.Welcome Air, Austria
In various guises it had been operating since May 2000, with 4 aircraft. Dornier Do-328-110 pictured below, OE-LIR. Operated from Insbruck Kranebitten. Ceased operating on 26 December 2017.
29.Yangtze River Express
Part of the opaque and sprawling Chinese conglomerate Hainan Airlines Group, Yangtze River Express was renamed Suparna Airlines in July 2017. the 744 was still flying the old name and livery in September 2017.
Effectively inoperable due to civil war in the Yemen (which is now suffering the worst Cholera outbreak ever recorded on Earth), it may one day come back, but Saudi and UAE military air strikes have destroyed the airports, and almost all of the countries infrastructure is in ruins.