Factbox: European airline collapses since 2017

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(Reuters) – Adria Airways is the latest in a string of airlines to have folded in the past few years, leaving thousands of passengers stranded in airports, with a knock-on effect on related industries such as hospitality.

Here is a summary of European airlines that have gone bankrupt since 2017 (in chronological order):


Germany’s second-largest airline filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 15, 2017 after shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding following years of losses.

The German government granted a bridging loan of 150 million euros ($163.3 million) to allow Air Berlin to keep its planes in the air for three months and secure the jobs of its 7,200 workers in Germany.

In October, Lufthansa agreed to buy parts of the insolvent company. [https://reut.rs/2llUI6P] [https://reut.rs/2lNYlCQ]


Britain’s Monarch Airlines collapsed on Oct. 2, 2017, affecting around 900,000 passengers.

Hurt partly by a weakened pound, its finances deteriorated in 2016 after security concerns deterred travel to Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt and brought increased capacity on routes to Iberia.

The company, based at Luton Airport north of London and in business since 1968, became the largest British airline to go bust at the time, adding to turbulence in the European airline industry. [https://reut.rs/2nq1rgD]


The Danish airline ceased operations on Oct. 1, 2018. Forced to cancel flights earlier that year, citing delays in receiving aircraft from Airbus, it later faced complaints about poor service and late refunds. [https://reut.rs/2lmsRDx]


Germany’s Germania declared bankruptcy on Feb. 4, 2019, after it failed to secure financing to navigate a short-term cash squeeze. [https://reut.rs/2nvZUpp]

Founded in Berlin in 1986, it mainly flew German tourists to more than 60 destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.


The UK regional airline ceased operation on Feb. 16, 2019, blaming Brexit uncertainty as one of the reason for its collapse.

It said its prospects had “been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and a lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe.” [https://reut.rs/2nwj0Md]


Iceland’s WOW air became another budget airline casualty on March 28, 2019 after failed efforts to raise funds, which included merger talks with rival Icelandair.

WOW controlled a quarter of the fast-growing low-cost, long-haul transatlantic market in 2018. The airline’s collapse negatively affected Iceland’s economy, which was largely dependent on tourism. [https://reut.rs/2CH1KZl] [https://reut.rs/2lT1b9v]


The world’s oldest travel company, Thomas Cook, collapsed on Sept. 23, 2019, sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history, with about 600,000 people including 150,000 Britons abroad at the time of the collapse.

The company, which failed to secure a deal with creditors or a government bailout, was running hotels, resorts and airlines for 19 million people a year. [https://reut.rs/2mUg5w8]


The French airline ceased all activities on Sep. 27, 2019 after a commercial court rejected financial rescue offers. Aigle Azur was put under bankruptcy protection on Sept. 2 and halted operations days later, leaving 19,000 passengers stranded. [https://reut.rs/2o2a812]


Slovenian airline Adria Airways filed for bankruptcy and canceled all flights on Sept. 30, 2019, after grounding most of its flights in the previous week.

Government officials have said European Union rules on state aid prevented the government helping Adria. They added it would also not have helped the company under its current ownership, which they called “irresponsible”.[https://reut.rs/2nh5yvL]