After much turmoil in recent years, the airline industry finally appears to be on the up.
More people are travelling, carriers are buying planes, companies are competing for pilots and new airlines are launching.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, that brought the world to its knees in 2020, showed the aviation industry just how fragile it can be.
According to CNN, the pandemic alone killed off 64 airlines as global and domestic travel by plane ground to a halt.
“If you look at the number of airlines that have gone out of business, it’s staggering, and there have been major impacts across a massive number of airlines,” says Steve Ehrlich, chairman of Pilots Together. “The pandemic exposed some of the weaknesses [in airlines] that we might not have seen for some time.”
The number of airlines that went under during the pandemic is startling, but it shows how changes in the industry can have crushing consequences.
Airlines collapsing is not a new concept, but the pandemic brought into focus just how easily it can happen and how the size and longevity of a carrier is no defense.
For 64 airlines COVID-19 was the death blow but in the preceding decades carriers have been forced to cease operations for a variety of reasons.
We wish we could list them all, but the truth is there have been far too many, so here are some of the most famous airlines that vanished from the skies.
When the second biggest airline in France, Aigle Azur, collapsed in September 2019, it proved that no carrier is immune from disaster.
Set up by Sylvain Floirat in 1946, the airline would come to an abrupt end more than 70 years later after failing to find new investors.
The year before folding Aigle Azur served around 1.9 million passengers, mainly operating between France and Algeria.
Air Berlin was positioned as…