Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Zoom Airlines Goes Bust

with 8 comments

Zoom Airlines B767-300ER

Zoom Airlines B767-300ER

I saw this story on the CBC this evening and no doubt it will be all over the press in the morning. As usual passengers were given no warning as creditors slapped court orders onto planes.

I travelled by Zoom for the first – and only – time this year, when I went to London and back from Paris. They were very cheap compared to Air Canada and generally similar in terms of service quality, although the planes seemed a bit shabby and the interiors worn. I did wonder about their viability – I have been writing here for some time about the effect of rising fuel costs on airtlines – so I loaded up on flight insurance before we left. As usual the tv news managed to find some tearful people who were trying hard to make other arrangements, and finding the price of last minute ticket purchases to get home very expensive. It is not as if this was an unfamilar story – any  more than the Gulf Coast being the target of hurricanes, but as usual many are unprepared.

There will be other similar stories in the coming months. More airlines will go to the wall. Demand for air travel has also started to decline, as the economy begins to adjust to the new reality. But I wonder how long it will take for the boosters – the people who back Gateway and airport expansions – to wake up?

Written by Stephen Rees

August 28, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Air Travel

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8 Responses

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  1. I just can’t believe their attempt at compensation – contact your card issuer?? Way to shift the responsibility…


    August 29, 2008 at 2:34 am

  2. I read in today’s news that hurricane Gustav may drive up the price of gas to $1.75 a litre, I wonder if that will be the final nail in the coffin of the very troubled discount airline industry?

    Malcolm J.

    August 29, 2008 at 7:48 am

  3. John

    For travellers that is good advice. Most credit card companies will give you credit for unused portions of the ticket – which may allow you enough headroom to buy a replacement at the end of your holiday. You may have to call the credit card company anyway to get your limit raised! Far better than to be another small claim at the end of the line of creditors.


    At the time of writing it is still “Tropical Storm Gustav”

    Stephen Rees

    August 29, 2008 at 8:47 am

  4. The new reported today that Alitalia has declared bankruptcy.

    Ron C.

    August 29, 2008 at 2:24 pm

  5. As of my weather tracker, Gustav is a cat. 1 hurricane and will grow to a cat. 3 hurricane, when it hits the Louisiana (New Orleans) coast Monday evening.

    Malcolm J.

    August 29, 2008 at 4:34 pm

  6. I don’t know if I’d read too much into Zoom’s demise – aside from Westjet and Air Transat, Air Canada competitors have a long history of going bankrupt through low oil prices and high (Jetsgo, Canada3000, Canadian Airlines, Wardair, etc.)


    August 29, 2008 at 8:13 pm

  7. But the decline of the airline business is part of an international trend – maybe you need to raise your eyes beyond Canada

    Stephen Rees

    August 29, 2008 at 9:18 pm

  8. Count me as one who is now stranded in Europe thanks to Zoom. I was also suckered my Harmony when they started to pare down their flight selections (in my case, a flight to LAX in 2002 I believe), so obviously I’ve learned my lesson. Now I’m stuck looking to call my credit card company (collect – my first attempt didn’t seem to work) and booking a flight that will likely cost 4-5x more than what I paid for my Zoom flight from CDG to YVR (~$480).

    My post on this:


    August 30, 2008 at 1:51 pm

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