Low-Cost Airline Primera Shuts Down – a Week After Entering Israeli Market

YERUSHALAYIM -
A Primera Air Scandinavia Boeing 737-700.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Israelis are likely out hundreds of dollars each, as the Latvian carrier Primera Air announced Tuesday that it was ceasing operations – just a week after it started selling tickets on a route it was granted between Tel Aviv and Paris. Angry patrons who attempted to contact the company were informed that Primera was not accepting calls, and that if they wished to arrange for a refund, they should contact their travel agent or online merchant where they bought their tickets.

In business for some 15 years, Primera was the latest low-cost airline to begin operations in Israel, advertising one-way, no-frill fares between Israel and Paris for $69, making it the cheapest fare on that route. The price of the ticket was for a seat to be assigned at boarding; passengers who wanted to bring aboard hand luggage or suitcases, or select their own seat, were required to pay fees for the privilege.

But customers who had bought tickets already, as well as prospective customers, were greeted with a message from the company Tuesday indicating that it was closing operations. “Airline Primera Air and IATA codes PF and 6F have been suspended as of today, October 2nd, 2018,” read the message. “Tour Operator passengers are kindly suggested to address their Tour Operators and Agents for further information and actions. Kindly understand that the usual options for contacts (via email or phone) cannot be offered any longer.”

It’s not known how many tickets were sold by Primera, which was scheduled to fly two round trip flights between Tel Aviv and Paris. At least one attorney, according to Yediot Acharonot, has contacted the Transportation Ministry demanding that it ascertain if the company knew that it was going out of business when it started selling tickets to Israelis – which could lead to criminal fraud charges. The Ministry has not commented on the matter.