The airlines that have stopped flying in 2019

Grounded: It’s been a record-breaking year for airline insolvency

Helen Coffey
Thursday 12 December 2019 09:27 GMT

Although the aviation industry is growing, there are always businesses that fall by the wayside.

In 2019 alone, 23 carriers have stopped flying, making it a record breaking year for airline bankruptcies.

Thomas Cook’s demise was one of 2019’s most shocking failures, but plenty of smaller brands have also gone under, including Flybmi and WOW Air.

Increased competitiveness, cost pressures, Brexit uncertainty and high fuel prices are the most common causes of airline bankruptcy according IBA Consulting.

Flight compensation company GIVT has compiled a list of all the airlines that have been grounded. These are the carriers that have ceased flying (so far):


Little known outside Germany, Germania, officially known as ‘Germania Fluggesellschaft mbH’, was a well-established, privately owned German airline based in Berlin that flew to more than 40 destinations. It declared bankruptcy on 4 February 2019, and ceased operations on 5 February 2019.

California Pacific

This small regional US airline barely got off the ground (excuse the pun). On 1 November 2018 it launched its first flight – but it barely lasted two months, officially ceasing operations on 17 January 2019.


Flybmi, based at East Midlands airport, flew from regional UK airports (Aberdeen, Bristol, East Midlands and Newcastle) to Continental and Scandinavian destinations including Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Oslo, Paris and Stavanger. It went into administration on 16 February.

Flybmi was a former subsidiary of British Midland International, which was once based at Heathrow Airport
Flybmi was a former subsidiary of British Midland International, which was once based at Heathrow Airport (PA)

Insel Air

Insel Air served as the national airline of Curaçao, flying to five destinations across the Caribbean and South America. The Dutch Caribbean airline ceased all operations on 16 February 2019.

Asian Express Airline

Asian Express Airline was a Tajikistani carrier based in Dushanbe, operating domestic and international flights (although, as of 2016, all international routes were to and from Russia. It was permanently grounded in January 2019.


A more familiar name than some of the other entries, WOW was an Icelandic low-cost carrier founded in 2011 that flew to destinations in Europe, North America and Asia. It stopped trading on 28 March this year.

Aerolíneas de Antioquía

At its peak, Colombian regional airline Aerolínea de Antioquia operated scheduled domestic services from Medellín to more than 20 destinations. It officially failed on 29 March 2019.

Fly Jamaica Airways

This one-aircraft operation flew from (you guessed it) Jamaica to Guyana, Georgetown; New York in the US; and Toronto, Canada. It ceased operation on 31 March 2019.

Air Philip

Air Philip was a South Korean airline operating domestic and international routes. It was founded in 2016, but had ceased operation as of 13 March 2019.

Jet Airways

This sizable Indian airline was struggling for a few years before being grounded on 17 April this year – a move which it said was “temporary”. The company is currently undergoing insolvency proceedings.

Turbulence ahead: Jet Airways has cancelled all international flights
Turbulence ahead: Jet Airways has cancelled all international flights (Jet Airways)

Avianca Brasil

Brazilian carrier Avianca Brasil, a subsidiary of Colombian airline group Avianca, never officially announced its bankruptcy, but stopped trading on 24 June.

Avianca Argentina

The Argentinian subsidiary of the Colombian group also didn’t make it through the year. It ceased operating on 7 June.

Al Naser Wings Airlines

This was a small Iraqi airline based in Baghdad, with scheduled domestic services to Middle Eastern destinations, the most frequent being to Damascus in Syria. It shut up shop for good on 16 April.

Aigle Azur

Aigle Azur was a French airline based out of Paris Orly Airport and flying to 21 destinations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. All flights were cancelled from 7 September and the company ceased all business activities on 27 September.

XL Airways

A small French carrier operating scheduled flights to mainly long-haul destinations in Africa, the Middle East, the United States and the Caribbean, XL was wound up on 23 September.

Thomas Cook

This was the most high-profile failure of 2019 – no one thought the UK’s third biggest tour operator could go under, but go under it did (including its profitable airline). The group ceased trading as of 23 September; tens of thousands of customers are still awaiting refunds.

Inside 'Operation Matterhorn' the Thomas Cook rescue mission to repatriate stuck travellers

Adria Airways

This was notable for the fact that Adria was the national flag carrier of Slovenia. Headquartered in Ljubljana, the now defunct airline carried 1.2 million passengers in 2018 – the same number as Ryanair flies in three days – to 23 destinations in Europe. It filed for bankruptcy on 30 September.

Peruvian Airlines

Based in Lima, this small airline operating mainly domestic flights wrapped up on 2 October.

New Gen Airways

A Thai international airline focusing on flights from Thailand to China, New Gen flew to 30 Chinese destinations on its 11-strong fleet of Boeing 737s. All flights were grounded as of August this year, while the company forfeited its entire fleet in October – effectively ceasing all operations.

Via Airlines

Small US domestic regional airline Via had six Embraer jets and, by the tail-end of its tenure, was only operating flights between Orlando-Sanford International Airport and Jackson, Mississippi. On 8 October 2019, the airline announced it would be filing for bankruptcy.

Adria Airways has suspended operations
Adria Airways has suspended operations (Wikimedia/Curimedia)

TAM Bolivia

Transporte Aéreo Militar (TAM) was an airline based in La Paz, Bolivia, owned by the Bolivian Air Force and set up to serve rural communities. In September 2019, the airline suspended all operations.

Taron Avia

This Armenian airline operated scheduled and charter flights from Shirak International Airport and Zvartnots International Airport, with a focus on transporting passengers from Georgia to Russia via Armenia following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to suspend direct flights between Russia and Georgia in July. Taron Avia had already suspended operations once in 2018, and in November 2019 was stripped of its operational licence after failing regulatory inspections.


Astra Airlines was a Greek regional airline headquartered in Thessaloniki with a fleet of just four jets. It went under on 14 November.

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