Wow Air has been forced to cancel the spring launch of its London Gatwick-Reykjavik-Boston service and with it its plans to move into the transatlantic market.
The Icelandic carrier has been denied key departure slots at Iceland’s Keflavik Airport.
It blamed this decision on rival airline Icelandair’s “monopoly on the most sought-after departure times between Iceland and North America which has long prevented consumers from being able to enjoy competitive fares”.
Skuli Mogensen, CEO and founder of Wow Air, said: “As tourism to Iceland continues to grow at an ever-increasing rate, the demand for routes from North America to our country is greater than ever.
“We’re in a position to offer these additional routes and are incredibly disappointed to be prevented from doing so due to an unresolved decision on departure allocations.
“This is not only having a detrimental effect on our plans to expand, but also on our passengers’ right to competitive rates and Icelandic tourism as a whole.”
In a statement, the airline added: “In November, the Icelandic Competition Authority found that the current arrangement of slot allocations is damaging to competition and instructed Isavia, Iceland’s national airport and air navigation service provider, to ensure that Wow Air has access to vital airport slot times in order to compete in that market.
“Despite this ruling, the key departure times needed to connect flights from Europe and North America have still not been granted.
“Faced with an indefinite waiting period for a final decision to be reached, Wow Air has been forced to cancel scheduled flights to Boston in spring 2014.”
The Icelandic carrier had been scheduled to start flying to Boston from LGW via Reykjavik six times a week — every day except for Saturdays — in the spring.
The new route would have marked Wow’s first venture to the US.
Last year, Wow took control of rival airline Iceland Express (see news, October 26).