The airlines we've lost to COVID & the ones we still could lose


December 22, 2020

When COVID became a worldwide pandemic, there were multiple pundits who predicted that many airlines would fail.

During a regular year, it’s a given that a certain amount of airlines will go under. Here are some reasons why. But, of course, 2020 is anything but a “regular” year.

As of this writing, about 50 airlines have either gone under or are not doing well in 2020. There will undoubtedly be more to follow, since the illustrious 2020 still has a little while to go, and the very end of the year is when carriers tend to rely on the revenue they’ve accumulated over the spring and summer. Between fear, lockdowns, threats of quarantine, and all the other reasons that people chose not to fly (these are mine. Like many, potentially catching COVID has little to do with why I’m not flying), that spring/summer revenue that didn’t happen this year.

Here are the airlines the world has lost so far in 2020:


  • Nantucket Express (USA) (this one had nothing to do with COVID. The FAA shut them down because they had unqualified pilots)


  • Air Italy (Italy)
  • AtlasGlobal (Turkey)


  • Braathens Regional Airlines (Sweden)
  • Flybe (Great Britain)
  • Miami Air International (USA)
  • Tigerair Australia (Australia)


  • CityJet (Great Britain)
  • Compass Airlines (USA)
  • Ernest Airlines (Italy)
  • Ravn Alaska (USA)
  • Shoreline Aviation (USA)
  • Trans States Airlines (USA)


  • Air Georgian (Canada)
  • Avianca (Colombia)
  • Avianca Peru (Peru)
  • LATAM (multi-national group)
  • TAME EP (Ecuador)
  • Universal Helicopters (Canada)


  • Contour Airlines (USA)
  • Level Europe (Austria)
  • LIAT (Antigua and Barbuda)
  • NokScoot (Thailand)
  • One Airlines (Chile)
  • South African Express (South Africa)
  • Sun Express Deutschland (Germany)


  • Jet Time (Denmark)


  • Island Express Air (Canada)
  • Wings of Lebanon (Lebanon)


  • ExpressJet (USA)
  • Go2Sky (Slovakia)


  • AirAsia Japan (Japan)
  • Cathay Dragon (Hong Kong)
  • Germanwings (Germany)
  • South African Express (South Africa)

Not yet gone, but not doing well (declared bankruptcy but not yet out of business, still on “pause,” was sold, etc.):

  • AirAsia Group (Malaysia)
  • Air Mauritius (Mauritius)
  • Air Deccan (India)
  • Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)
  • Al Italia (Italy)
  • Asiana Airlines (South Korea)
  • Flyest (Argentina)
  • German Airways (Germany)
  • InterCaribbean Airways (Turks and Caicos)
  • Interjet (Mexico)
  • Jet2 (Great Britain)
  • LEVEL Europe (Austria)
  • Miami Air International (USA)
  • Malaysia Airlines (Malaysia)
  • South African Airways (South Africa)
  • Taos Air (USA)
  • Virgin Atlantic (Great Britain)
  • Virgin Australia (Australia)

On top of these, Bloomberg suggests there are at least 8 other airlines that are at risk of collapse in the not-too-distant future:

  • AirAsia Indonesia (Indonesia)
  • Azul (Brazil)
  • Gol Linhas (Brazil)
  • Grupo Aeromexico (Mexico)
  • Medview Airlines (Nigeria)
  • Pakistan International (Pakistan)
  • Precision Air (Tanzania)
  • Thai Airways (Thailand) (funny, we just wrote about them!)

Although several US-based regional airlines went under, most larger US-based airlines are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. This is thanks largely to bailouts from the US government, but also massive personnel cuts, and creativity with flights. Some smaller, less affluent countries can make cuts and changes, but aren’t able to throw money at their airlines.

Of course, COVID isn’t going to end at the clock strikes 2021, so it’s possible that we’ll lose some more airlines to the pandemic as 2021 rolls around. But for now, we already have quite a loss.

References: Bloomberg, Business Insider, CNBC, NY Post, Wikipedia,

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