Primera Air

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Primera Air Scandinavia A/S
Primera Air logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded2003 (as JetX)
Ceased operations2 October 2018[2]
Operating bases
SubsidiariesPrimera Air Nordic
Fleet size7
Company sloganFly Better, Fly Primera Air
Parent companyPrimera Travel Group
HeadquartersCopenhagen, Denmark
Key people
  • Hrafn Thorgeirsson (CEO)
  • Andri Már Ingólfsson (President & owner)

Primera Air Scandinavia A/S,[5] trading as Primera Air, was[2] a Danish leisure airline owned by the Primera Travel Group. It provided scheduled and charter passenger services from Northern Europe to more than 40 destinations in the Mediterranean, Middle East and North America.[3][4] It ceased operations on 1 October 2018.[6]


Primera Air was founded in 2003 in Iceland as JetX; in 2006 Primera Travel Group, an Icelandic tourism operator with subsidiaries in several countries, bought a controlling interest[7][8] and Jón Karl Ólafsson was named chairman in 2008.[9][10] Hrafn Thorgeirsson was appointed Managing Director of Primera Air Scandinavia in 2009.

In July 2014 Primera Air flew 155,000 passengers in 1006 flights with an average flight seat utilisation of 91%.[11]

Initially, Primera Air operated charter flights for major Scandinavian tour operators, but gradually started selling surplus seats as "flight-only" tickets on some of the fixed charter flights in 2013. The continued success allowed Primera Air to increase both the number of routes and flight frequency, resulting in a mixed charter/scheduled carrier business model. The airline transitioned to mostly scheduled flight operations, although some flights combined charter and regular passengers, and separate full charter flight services were available.[12][13]

In August 2014 Primera Air Travel Group announced the founding of a new airline Primera Air Nordic, IATA code 6F - in Latvia, which would be run parallel to Primera Air. Simultaneously, a new Network Control Center was opened in Riga for overseeing all operational matters of the groups airlines. Hrafn Thorgeirsson was appointed as the new CEO of both Primera Air Scandinavia and Primera Air Nordic.[14][15][16]

The major restructuring and consolidation had a positive impact on the airline. In 2015 Primera Air operated eight aircraft with a turnover of 250 million USD, and earned more than 5.2 million euros in total revenue before taxes (EBITDA). During the first 8 months of 2016, the airline had earned 4 million euros with an estimate of 7.60 million by the end of the year.

In 2018, Primera Air added scheduled long-distance flights.[17] Unable to obtain further financing to accommodate the resulting losses, it announced in a statement dated 30 September 2018 that it would cease operations effective 2 October 2018, citing a poor financial standing from the write-off of an aircraft from corrosion, delivery delays of the Airbus A321neo aircraft and resultant wet leasing, and being unable to secure long-term financing.[2][18] The final flight to land was PF596 from Málaga to Copenhagen.[19]

Since April 2018, the airline had canceled some flights; customers said that as of the date of bankruptcy they had not yet received promised compensation.[20] Neither passengers nor employees received advance notice of the shutdown, and many planes were in the air at the time of the decision. Some passengers learned that the airline was shut down while in line to board the plane.[21] Many people, including employees, were stranded at foreign airports.[17][18]


Primera Air Boeing 737-700
Primera Air Boeing 737-800

Primera Air operated return flights from its Scandinavian airports to popular holiday destinations along the Mediterranean coast of Europe and Africa, the Canary Islands, the Azores, Madeira, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as custom charter flights to virtually any destination. The airline maintained seasonal summer and winter selections.[22]

The selection of scheduled flight destinations had gradually expanded since their introduction in 2013. In late 2014 Primera Air launched 10 new winter and summer direct flight destinations from Iceland, namely, Las Palmas, Tenerife, Alicante, Salzburg, Malaga, Mallorca and Barcelona, Bologna, Crete and Bodrum.[23]

On 26 October 2014 Primera Air launched weekly flights from Gothenburg and Malmö to Dubai (Al Maktoum) and Tenerife, from Helsinki to Fuerteventura and Las Palmas. On November 16 the airline commenced a new route from Keflavik to New York (JFK) after acquiring rights to serve the United States. Later that year the airline started four new weekly routes: Aalborg-Las Palmas, Copenhagen-Billund-Lanzarote, Aarhus-Tenerife and Aalborg-Fuerteventura.[24]

In 2015, Primera Air signed agreements worth 30 million euros with several leading travel agencies in France for operating a series of flights with 2 aircraft from Charles de Gaulle airport to popular holiday destinations during summer.[25][26]

In February 2016, Croatian destinations Dubrovnik and Pula were added to the range of flight destinations.[27] In May 2016, the airline commenced regular flights from Billund to Nice and Venice.[28][29] Shortly afterwards flights to Antalya were introduced. Later that year Primera Air announced the increase in frequency for existing destinations as well as new destinations (Milan and Rome) from Stockholm for the summer season of 2017. It was done in an effort to strengthen its operations and presence in Sweden and in line with plans for further fleet and destination range expansion.[30] Later that year Trieste, Almería and Lamezia Terme were added as destinations.

Summer 2017 saw the addition of routes to Kalamata, Ponta Delgada and Madeira.[31] In July 2017, Primera Air announced they would start transatlantic flights in 2018 to Newark, Boston and Toronto from Birmingham, London Stansted and Paris Charles de Gaulle with a fleet of 8 Airbus A321neo aircraft.[32][33]

In February 2018, the airline announced new flights from London Stansted to Washington D.C. from August 2018,[34][35] as well as additional flights to Athens, Kos and Zakynthos from Copenhagen, Billund, and Stockholm.[36] Primera Air has announced increased flight frequency for flights to its most popular destinations in southern Spain, and the pricing policy on these routes has allowed it to compete with the low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle.[37]

In June 2018, citing delivery delays by Airbus of its A321neo fleet, Primera cancelled all transatlantic operations at Birmingham Airport scheduled on or after 21 June 2018. Transatlantic flights to and from Birmingham were expected to resume in 2019.[38] However in July 2018, Primera Air announced it would terminate all operations at Birmingham Airport by October 2018.[39]

In August 2018, the airline announced two new bases in Brussels and Berlin Tegel for 2019, using Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. The announced routes were from Brussels to Newark in May 2019, and in June 2019, routes from both Brussels and Berlin to Boston and Washington D.C., and from Berlin to New York JFK and Toronto the same month.[40][41] In September 2018, Primera announced two more transatlantic bases in Europe to open in 2019; one in Frankfurt and one in Madrid. The routes announced for Frankfurt were to New York JFK and Boston in June 2019, and to Montréal and Toronto in July 2019, while the routes announced for Madrid were to Newark in July 2019, and to Boston and Toronto in August 2019, also to be operated with the Boeing 737 MAX 9.[42][43]


At the time of bankruptcy and cessation of operations on 2 October 2018, the Primera Air fleet consisted of the following aircraft:[44][45]

Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A321LR 2 16 182 198 Launch customer.[46] Was to be delivered in 2018.[44][46]
Airbus A321neo 5 1 16 182 198 6 were ordered, but only 5 were delivered.[44]
Boeing 737-800 2 1 189 189 1 was due in 2018, but was never delivered.
Boeing 737 MAX 9 18 TBA Deliveries were planned from November 2018; 8 aircraft were to be leased from Air Lease Corporation.[47][48]
Total 7 22


  1. ^ "IATA - Airline and Airport Code Search". Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Primera Air Ceases Operations". Primera Air. 30 September 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b - route map retrieved 4 August 2018
  4. ^ a b - transatlantic flights retrieved 4 August 2018
  5. ^ "Primera Air Airline Profile". CAPA - Centre for Aviation.
  6. ^ "Primera Air: Passengers stranded as airline collapses". BBC News. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  7. ^ "About: History". JetX. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007.
  8. ^ "Óttast að vera sagt upp hjá JetX". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Jón Karl Olafsson new CEO of Primera Air". Primera Travel Group. 25 February 2008. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Jón Karl Ólafsson ráðinn forstjóri JetX/Primera". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 22 February 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  11. ^ "July 2014 was a record month for Primera Air". Primera Travel Group. 8 August 2014. Archived from the original on 19 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Primera Air fortsætter ekspansion -". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Flights from Scandinavia to Vacation Destinations - PrimeraAir". PrimeraAir. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Corporate Info - PrimeraAir". PrimeraAir. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ DELFI (25 August 2014). "'Primera Air' Rīgā veido lidojumu vadības centru, bet tiešos lidojumus no Latvijas pašlaik neplāno". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  17. ^ a b M.R. (3 October 2018). "Primera Air goes bankrupt after a catastrophic summer". The Economist. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  18. ^ a b Youn, Soo; Merchan, Davi (2 October 2018). "Low-cost Primera Air abruptly shuts down, stranding crews and passengers". ABC News. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  19. ^ "International Flight Network on Twitter". Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  20. ^ Premack, Rachel (2 October 2018). "Low-cost carrier Primera Air is shutting down and filing for bankruptcy — here's my experience with one of their canceled flights and my attempts to contact them about the $1,400 they owe me". Business Insider. Insider Inc. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Primera Air: Passengers stranded as airline collapses". BBC News. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Route Map - PrimeraAir". PrimeraAir. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  23. ^ [2][dead link]
  24. ^ Drum, Bruce (7 December 2014). "Primera Air continues to expand from Scandinavia and Iceland". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  25. ^ [3][dead link]
  26. ^ "Primera Air paplašina darbību no Parīzes". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  27. ^ "The Swedes are Coming: Primera Air to Pula and Dubrovnik". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Primera Air begins Billund trio". 9 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  29. ^ "Primera Air Scandinavia to start scheduled Stockholm flights". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  30. ^ Jarvis, Howard. "Primera Air to expand in Stockholm Arlanda - TTG Nordic". Archived from the original on 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  31. ^ "Primera Air plans new charter route to Kalamata in summer 2017 -". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  32. ^ "Transatlantic flights". Primera Air. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  33. ^ Liu, Jim. "Primera Air to start US scheduled service in S18". Routesonline. UBM (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  34. ^ "Primera Air launches flights from Essex to the White House". The Independent. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  35. ^ "Primera Air Announces from Dulles International to London". Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Significant expansion in Greece". Primera Travel. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  37. ^ "Primera Air udvider fra Aalborg Lufthavn -". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  38. ^ "Airbus delivery delay forces Primera Air to suspend long-haul operations from Birmingham". Primera Air. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  39. ^ - Primera Air cancels all flights from Birmingham Airport 31 July 2018
  40. ^ Mutzabaugh, Ben (21 August 2018). "$149 Europe fares: Primera Air adds three new U.S. routes". USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  41. ^ "Primera Air will fly from Berlin to New York, Boston and Toronto starting from €149" (Press release). Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  42. ^ Pallini, Thomas (5 September 2018). "Primera Air Goes Up Against Star Alliance with Opening of New Frankfurt Base". Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  43. ^ Liu, Jim (12 September 2018). "Primera Air adds Trans-Atlantic service from Madrid in 3Q19". Routesonline. UBM (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  44. ^ a b c "Fleet". Primera Air. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  45. ^ "Primera Air Scandinavia Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  46. ^ a b "Primera Air to lease two A321neo(LR)s from AerCap". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  47. ^ Morris, Keelan (11 May 2017). "Boeing, Primera Air Announce Order for Up to 20 737 MAX 9s". Boeing Media Room. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  48. ^ "Primera Air signs for two further Boeing 737 Max 9 airliners". Breaking Travel News. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Primera Air at Wikimedia Commons