WOW air (WW, Reykjavik Keflavik) has returned two A320-200s and two A330-300s to the lessor as a part of "necessary restructuring" given worsening financial and market conditions.

The Icelandic LCC retired its A320-200 TF-SIS (msn 4270) on November 22 and TF-BRO (msn 4305) on November 25. Both Airbus narrowbodies have since been ferried to Shannon for storage. WOW air does not operate any more A320-200s.

The carrier also returned two A330-300s TF-LUV (msn 1607) and TF-WOW (msn 1624). Both widebodies have already been ferried to Lourdes/Tarbes. WOW air has one more A330-300 in service.

All four returned aircraft are owned by Park Aerospace Holdings and managed by Avolon. Park/Avolon was also due to own and manage all four A330-900s originally scheduled to join WOW air shortly.

WOW air said in a statement that the downsizing of the fleet was done "in cooperation with its lessors" as "a part of a necessary restructuring of the airline and to ensure maximum utility of its remaining fleet".

The carrier's fleet also includes one A320-200neo, twelve A321-200s (one of them wet-leased to Aruba Airlines), and two A321-200neo. In the addition to the Aruba Airlines wet-lease, the Icelandic carrier is also planning to operate 102 charter flights between Miami Int'l Havana Int'l and Santa Clara de Cuba for Gulfstream Air Charter (GFT, Miami Int'l) over the period December 4, 2018 and January 31, 2019.

CEO Skuli Mogensen admitted in a letter to the company's bondholders that the market and financial situation of the airline have worsened since the bonds were issued on September 24, 2018.

"A number of external and internal events have worsened significantly and the Company is now working on securing its long-term funding," Mogensen said.

He blamed bad publicity about the company's situation, the bankruptcy of Primera Air Scandinavia (PF, Billund) which further worsened the image of transatlantic low-cost carriers, stricter payments terms imposed by creditors, lessors, and authorities straining the cash flow, and finally the increased fuel prices.

"With the above in mind we have been working diligently to seek additional funding and have received interest from a number of parties including Icelandair (FI, Reykjavik Keflavik) as has been publicly announced. Timing is a consideration as the situation described above has resulted in these funding initiatives becoming a necessity for the business," Mogensen said.

However, fellow Icelandic carrier Icelandair has since said that it will, at least for now, postpone the acquisition of WOW air. The parties previously reached a preliminary agreement in early November 2018.

"The purchase agreement contains various reservations that must be met. Based on the state of the situation today, Icelandair Group is unlikely to fulfill all reservations before [the shareholders' meeting on November 30]," Icelandair Group said in a filing to the Iceland Stock Exchange, without disclosing the unmet conditions.