Icelandair, the flag carrier of Iceland, is hoping to increase its presence in North America, and as a result, is buying WOW air, pending the approval of shareholders and regulators. WOW air is an Icelandic budget airline that sought to shake up the transatlantic market. The airline offered fares as low as $69 between the United States and Iceland. While WOW air offered eye-popping deals, it is a no-frill, budget airline in every way.
According to Icelandair, the two brands will operate independently. The airlines aren't exactly catering to the same clients. While WOW air is a low-cost carrier that offers a bare-bones experience, Icelandair is a full-service carrier that offers amenities and an experience more in line with larger, more traditional airlines.
The merger may spell bad news for those who want to fly between the United States and Iceland. The two airlines have constantly tried to one-up each other with lower fares. As a result of the merger, there may be fewer cheap deals to cross the Atlantic, though only time will tell, especially considering that the airlines aren't necessarily going after the same customers.
There is good news, too. Icelandair is a full-service airline that goes out of its way to make flyers comfortable and happy, and there is no doubt the buyout by Icelandair will be a good thing as customer service and amenities are likely to improve at WOW air. The merger also brings stability and ensures that WOW air will stay in operation as Icelandair has a stronger balance sheet and can weather higher fuel costs.