There’s been a fair bit of rumour – that Primera Air might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Icelandic owned but registered in Latvia there are three companies, Primera Air Scandinavia based in Denmark, Primera Air that remains based in Iceland, and Primera Air Nordic which is based in Latvia.
It’s been modifying its offering lately for direct trans-Atlantic flights, “starting non-stop trans-Atlantic flights from London Stansted (STN) and Birmingham (BHX) to Newark (EWR), Boston (BOS), Washington-Dulles (IAD) and Toronto-Pearson (YYZ) as the company continues its expansion with extended flights from Birmingham to North America”.
While it says “continues its expansion” services haven’t even started. Delays on new aircraft, rumoured, but not confirmed to be caused by engine issues – these are CFM’s not the dubious P&W -, seem to have created cancellations from BHX and there were more than one or two posts that getting money back was proving difficult.
On top of that Icelandic managers allegedly, simply didn’t turn up in Latvia for a crucial meeting, which caused some disquiet.
The airline also making a potential mistake in its earliest days. In launching BHX routes to Spain for the summer – on all the key tourist routes that RyanAir, Jet2, easyJet, Thomas Cook and TUI, and at one point Norwegian, operate on – destroying Monarch Airlines in 2017. These routes to Alicante, Tenerife, La Palma, and Malaga are notoriously ultra-competitive and there is simply no margin for a small airline like Primera to make enough money to sustain them.
There’s no question that on the routes to Toronto, New York, Washington DC and Boston, Primera stand every chance of being successful if priced well – not necessarily cheaply. The cost of getting to and from Heathrow and Manchester and parking for say a week, can all be saved. Operating out of Stansted and Paris CDG will also make the routes more viable. There’s certainly demand.
Personally, until they start flying and prove they can do it sustainably – my gut feeling is this is all a bit hollow, there’s something not quite right here. If you do book – pay by CREDIT card NOT debit card – your card issuer is then legally responsible for any refunds even if the airline cannot pay up.
Along with a A321neoLR’s which are to be fitted with CFM LEAP-X1A32’s, the first of which OY-PAA isn’t far from delivery, the airline has ten 737-9’s on order.