The Airlines That Failed During 2022

Despite plenty of headwinds, 2022 has been one of the lightest years for airlines going out of business. 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.

Europe’s out-of-business airlines

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

Norwegian Airlines’ woes began even before COVID was a thing. As the pandemic gripped the world, the airline’s crisis grew worse, entering into bankruptcy protection in late 2020. It emerged from the crisis a slimmer and more efficient regional carrier, shelving all plans for international operations and signing the death knell for its UK operation. Norwegian UK was the home of 24 Boeing 787-9s, and officially closed as the airline exited bankruptcy protection in May this year.


Photo: Vincenzo Pace Simple Flying

A less well known failure was Greek carrier orange2fly. Founded in 2015, it only ever flew four A320-200s, operating from Athens and later from a base in Pristina. It filed for bankruptcy in September 2021 and officially shut down in January this year.

Among the other 19, three were passenger 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 motorsport industry. It 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 Aviation

The other two airlines are Russian carriers. Kamchatka Airlines was a relatively new airline to be based at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airport, and planned to operate charter services with turboprops and narrowbody aircraft. However, the sanctions on Russian aviation meant it was impossible to start services, and it shut down earlier this year. Royal Flight traces its history back to 1992 when it flew as Abakan-Avia, and had a fleet of 26 airplanes, including Ilyushin and Boeing models. It ceased operations in May this year.

Rounding off the list are Air Halland, a division of Air Leap; Blu Express, a branch of Blue Panorama; the 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 American shutdowns

Just five airlines are listed as ending business in North America during 2022, according to ch-aviation. The most notable of these is ExpressJet Airlines, formerly Continental Express, and a major regional carrier for the States. It flew under the American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express brands. However, one by one, these contracts departed, with its last mainline partner United Airlines pulling out 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 willing to give up, ExpressJet restarted commercial operations in 2021 on behalf of its new division aha! Pegged as ‘Air-Hotel-Adventure,’ the idea of ​​this brand was to bundle deals on hotels in Reno with its air fares, connecting West Coast cities on an all-in-one basis. Although it launched to much applause, the carrier could not make it work, and filed for bankruptcy in August (making aha! number two of our North American shutdowns). At its peak, ExpressJet operated more than 400 regional aircraft, including ATRs, CRJs, DHCs and Embraer. At the point of liquidation, it had only five ERJ145 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 had been around since the 1960s, originally flying under the name Harold’s Air Service and later Friendship Air Alaska. Alongside Shannon’s Air Taxi, the two companies were acquired by Grant Aviation in January this year, with the company noting that it was good news for regional Alaska. In a statement, the airline said,

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

Grant Aviation

Photo: Grant Aviation

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

Africa’s airline exits

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

Eswatini Air 1

Photo: via Jon Howell, CEO of AviaDev

Med-View started life as a Hajj specialist in 2004, but began operating domestic scheduled services in 2012. It has struggled financially for many years, reportedly struggling with huge debts since around 2017. Over the years, it flew four 737-400, one 767-300 and a 777-200ER, but by the point that it lost its air operator certificate, in November 2002, and stopped flying entirely, it had only one 737-400 to its name.

Tchadia Airlines was Chad’s only flag carrier, and was placed into liquidation in August this year after three years of loss-making operations. Despite being backed by African heavyweight Ethiopian Airlines, it could not survive the financial impact of the pandemic. It had just two Dash 8 turboprops, and had only been in operation since 2018.

Chad (1)

Photo: Chadia Airlines

Asia’s closed-up airlines

Only one airline is listed by ch-aviation as having gone out of business in 2022 in the Asian region, which is quite astonishing given the drawn-out travel restrictions that have hampered the recovery of airlines in this region. Regent Airways was a Bangladeshi airline founded in 2010 with two Boeing 737-700s. It flew domestically as well as to points in India, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Over its operational lifetime, the airline flew two 737-700s alongside four 737-800s, one DHC-6-400 and a pair of DHC-8-300s. By the beginning of 2022, it had only one 737-800 still operational. It had plans to turn the airline around 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

What about the rest of the world?

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

Comair is perhaps the most well-known of these, along with its subsidiary Kulula. Although it has stopped flying with no realistic hope of rescue, it is yet to officially close – although we can probably expect it on next year’s list. South Africa’s SA Express has not flown since 2020, but awaits its final liquidation and official closure.

Several Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos aircraft

Photo: Lukas Souza Simple Flying

In South America, Brazil’s Itapemirim stopped flying after just six months, as the nation’s regulator revoked its flying license. Interjet, although not having flown since 2020, entered bankruptcy in August 2022.

In Europe, bankruptcy was declared by Onur Air in April this year, but remains ‘in business’ in the official sense. EGO Airways in Italy had to return its fleet after conflicts regarding the leasing contract, and had its operating permit suspended in January this year. And Romanian carrier Blue Air has been in significant trouble, but has new hopes of revival as the Romanian government looks set to take a stake.

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