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The airlines that went bankrupt in 2022

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Despite many headwinds, 2022 was one of the lightest years for airlines to close. Officially canceled airlines number just 19 this year, according to official data from ch-aviation. We take a look at the airlines that failed in 2022.


Airlines outside Europe market

Officially ending service in 2022, ten airlines, only two of which were scheduled commercial airlines. These were Norwegian UK and orange2fly.

Norwegian Airlines’ problems started before COVID even existed. As the pandemic gripped the world, the airline’s crisis worsened, entering bankruptcy in late 2020. It emerged from the crisis a leaner and more efficient regional carrier, shelving all plans for international operations and signing the judgment of death for its UK operation. Norwegian UK was home to 24 Boeing 787-9s and was officially closed when the airline came out of bankruptcy protection in May of this year.

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Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-CKWC

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Single Flight

A lesser known flaw was the Greek carrier orange2fly. Founded in 2015, it has flown just four A320-200s, operating from Athens and later from a base in Pristina. It filed for bankruptcy in September 2021 and officially closed in January of this year.

Among the other 19, three were charter airlines, which included JOTA Aviation, Kamchatka Airlines and Royal Flight. JOTA was a British charter airline founded in 2009 and specializing in the passenger and cargo needs of the automobile industry. He flew seven aircraft, including the BAe 146, the ARJ100 and the ARJ85. It ceased operations in April 2022 and liquidated in May, citing the negative effects of the pandemic on its business.

Jota Aviation BAe146-200 freighter

Photo: Jota Aviação

The other two airlines are Russian. Kamchatka Airlines was a relatively new airline based at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airport and planned to operate charter services with turboprops and narrow-body aircraft. However, sanctions on Russian aviation made it impossible to start services and they were closed earlier this year. Royal Flight traces its history back to 1992, when it flew as Abakan-Avia, and had a fleet of 26 planes, including Ilyushin and Boeing models. It ended its activities in May of this year.

Rounding out the list are Air Halland, a division of Air Leap; Blu Express, subsidiary of Blue Panorama; German virtual carrier Green Airlines; UK-based private charter airline Arean Aviation; and cargo carrier Star Air, which was merged into Maersk Air Cargo.

North America closures

Only five airlines are listed as ending business in North America in 2022, according to ch-aviation. The most notable of these is ExpressJet Airlines, formerly Continental Express, and a major regional carrier for the United States. It flew under the American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express brands. However, one by one, these contracts were canceled, with its last main partner, United Airlines, leaving in September 2020.

André Du-pont via Wikimedia.”” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=””””>

Expressjet ERJ 145 in United Express livery

Not wanting to give up, ExpressJet restarted commercial operations in 2021 on behalf of its new division aha! Dubbed ‘Air-Hotel-Adventure’, the idea for this brand was to bundle hotel deals in Reno with their airfares, connecting West Coast cities all at once. Although it got a lot of plaudits, the carrier couldn’t get it to work and filed for bankruptcy in August (making it our number two stoppages in North America). At its peak, ExpressJet operated more than 400 regional aircraft, including ATRs, CRJs, DHCs and Embraer. At the time of liquidation, it only had five ERJ145s in service.

aha!  Idaho Falls

Photo: Idaho Falls Airport.

Two other carriers – Tanana Air Service and Shannon’s Air Taxi – merged into Grant Aviation. Tanana has been around since the 1960s, originally flying under the name Harold’s Air Service and later Friendship Air Alaska. Along with Shannon’s Air Taxi, the two companies were acquired by Grant Aviation in January of this year, with the company noting that it was good news for the Alaska region. In a statement, the airline said:

“With this merger, Bristol Bay customers can expect the familiar service of Tanana Air Service and Shannon’s Air Taxi now backed by Grant’s reliability, affordable flights and commitment to customer service. Grant plans to continue service on Tanana’s previous routes and Shannon, connecting residents and visitors alike to our network of destinations in Alaska.”

Grant Aviation

Photo: Grant Aviation

Rounding out the US carriers no longer with us is Ross Aviation, a private/business airline based in Albuquerque. Starting life in 1941 as Louisiana Aircraft, it built a business flying with the US government’s nuclear scientists. It was merged into Atlantic Aviation, which also saw Atlantic gain three new fixed-base operations from TAC Air in Omaha, Raleigh-Durham and Hartford.

Leaves Africa airline

Africa saw the demise of three scheduled carriers – Eswatini Airlink, Med-View Airline in Nigeria and Tchadia Airlines. Eswatini Airlink had two aircraft in its fleet – a Fokker 100 and a Fokker F28. It was the national airline, having been established in 1999 as Swaziland Airlink. In later years, it did not have its own aircraft, but flights were operated by Airlink with Embraer regional jets. It ceased operations on 1 June and is due to be replaced by the new Eswatini Air.

Eswatini Air 1

Photo: via Jon Howell, CEO of AviaDev

Med-View began life as a Hajj specialist in 2004, but began operating scheduled domestic services in 2012. It struggled financially for many years, battling huge debts since 2017. Over the years it has flown four 737-400s, one 767-300 and a 777-200ER, but when he lost his Air Operator’s Certificate in November 2002 and stopped flying altogether, he only had one 737-400 to his name.

Tchadia Airlines was Chad’s only flag carrier and was put into liquidation in August this year after three years of loss-making operations. Despite being backed by African heavyweight Ethiopian Airlines, it has failed to survive the financial impacts of the pandemic. It only had two Dash 8 turboprops and had only been in service since 2018.

Goodbye (1)

Photo: Tchadia Airlines

Closed airlines in Asia

Only one airline is listed by ch-aviation as having closed its doors in 2022 in the Asian region, which is quite surprising given the prolonged travel restrictions that have made it difficult for airlines to recover in this region. Regent Airways was a Bangladeshi airline founded in 2010 with two Boeing 737-700s. It has flown domestically, as well as to points in India, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Over its operational life, the airline has flown the two 737-700s alongside four 737-800s, a DHC-6-400 and a pair of DHC-8-300s. As of early 2022, there is only one 737-800 still in service. It had plans to transform the airline in 2020 after several turbulent years, but with the onset of the pandemic making things very difficult, it officially ended operations this year.

Shadman Samee via Wikimedia“” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=””””>

Regent Airways Boeing 737

and the rest of the world?

Surprisingly, no airlines in South America or Oceania are listed as having closed this year. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more, as several notable airlines stopped flying in 2022 but haven’t officially gone out of business.

Comair is perhaps the best known of these, along with its subsidiary Kulula. While it’s stopped flying with no realistic hope of rescue, it’s still not officially shut down – though we can probably expect it to be on next year’s list. South Africa’s SA Express has not flown since 2020, but is awaiting its final liquidation and official closure.

Several aircraft of Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos

Photo: Lukas Souza | Single Flight

In South America, Brazil’s Itapemirim stopped flying after just six months, when the country’s regulator revoked its flight license. Interjet, although not flying since 2020, filed for bankruptcy in August 2022.

In Europe, Onur Air was declared bankrupt in April this year, but it remains ‘in operation’ in the official sense. EGO Airways in Italy had to return its fleet after conflicts over the lease agreement, and had its operating license suspended in January this year. And Romanian airline Blue Air is in significant trouble but has new hopes for a revival as the Romanian government looks set to take a gamble.

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