French discount carrier XL Airways halted ticket sales on Thursday evening. Citing “financial difficulties” the company announced the news with no advance warning. It also indicated that “Some of our flights may have to be cancelled” as a result of the faltering finances. The company’s only scheduled Thursday evening from Paris is en route to Newark. It appears that cancellations are focused on flights for next Monday and beyond, though anything is possible at this time. The company owns four A330 aircraft.
The XL news comes on the heels of Aigle Azur also closing up shop this summer. Assuming XL doesn’t pull off a miracle recovery the move leaves Thomas Cook, Norwegian and Level operating as long-haul LCCs across the Atlantic. At least two of those are also facing financial challenges, with restructured debt and new investments keeping them aloft for now. And maybe WOW is going to rejoin the party, but there’s a lot of uncertainty about the chances for success of that endeavor.
UPDATE: A La Compagnie spokesperson says, “There is and will be no impact on La Compagnie.”
Original story remains below.
Also potentially at risk is the all business class airline La Compagnie. It is owned by XL Airways following a merger in late 2016. Since then La Compagnie has updated its fleet and expanded its route network. The A321neo delivers a far improved product and significant operational efficiencies for the carrier.
But if the XL financial troubles seep over to the La Compagnie side of the operations this could bring both sides down. La Compagnie did not appear aware of the XL problems when contacted, though that situation is also in flux.
Also mildly of note is that the move comes 11 years and 1 week after the British version of XL Airways halted operations, also due to financial troubles.