Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt

Some of the busiest places in the world have to be airports. With so many airplanes flying and travelers making transactions, airlines can be very profitable. Airlines often make a profit not only through ticket sales but for many other things baggage fees and in-flight services.

However, in recent times, especially with what has happened all over the world, there are a lot of airlines that went bankrupt. You can’t deny that during these difficult times, there are a lot of businesses that shut down. Here are some of the popular airlines that have closed down recently and in the past years as well.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
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Avianca was one of the most important and prominent airlines in Latin America. Its closure in May of 2020 came as a surprise, knowing how popular the airline was within the region. It was also the second-oldest airline in the area that still served many travelers.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
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However, the company filed for bankruptcy due to the recent pandemic and the lack of travelers that supported the airline. Many of its regular travelers were caught off guard by the surprising bankruptcy of the airline.

Thankfully, Chilean carrier Sky Airline has swooped in to save the day and decided to merge with Avianca. The airline merger promises that it will be very affordable for everyone.


Continental Airlines

One of the oldest known airlines in the US, Continental Airlines, was founded in 1938 but was more known as Varney Speed Lines. It functioned to trasnport mail and travelers in the Southwestern region of the US and began offering a flight to Mexico soon after.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
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The airline began its nationwide expansion after acquiring Pioneer Airlines in the early 1950s. This led Continental Airlines to be one of the most popular and affordable airlines in the United States.

The airline pioneered the economy rates for flights to Chicago and Los Angeles. However, same with many other airlines at that age, the company crumbled due to labor troubles and declared bankruptcy in 1983.


Miami Air International

The United States has always been one of the busiest when it comes to air travel. With so many airlines popping up to provide services, there are also many others that fold. Miami Air International is another US airline that struggled to get profits during the pandemic and ended its 29 years of service by filing for bankruptcy.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
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This charter airline started small but slowly built its name as a formidable yet very profitable airline. It had amassed a fleet of Boeing 737s that offered flights worldwide.

The airline was very popular amongst cruise operations and professional sports teams as well as the US military. Nonetheless, the popular airline went out of service in 2020.


Flybe was one, if not the most, popular airline in the UK. However, even with its popularity, it showed signs of financial struggles long before the pandemic happened. The UK government stepped in to help the struggling airline, and another company even tried to save it at one point.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
Image Source: The Guardian

However, despite the helping hands of other entities, in March 2020, the company announced that it would shut down its services to the entire world and filed for bankruptcy. What was very controversial about this was that Flybe was responsible for almost half of the entire flights within the UK.

Many travelers were caught off guard and suddenly needed to find another way to book a ticket back from their trips. Many of its workers were also blindsided by the announcement, which left them jobless overnight.

Virgin Australia

Speaking of controversial closures, none could be more controversial than Virgin Australia. The airline was the country’s second-largest airline and it was very popular at one time. However, being popular doesn’t always mean it is profitable for the business.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
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There were financial struggles behind the scenes, and after almost 20 years of service, the airline filed for bankruptcy, surprising many of its frequent travelers. It was one of the most controversial announcements within the airline industry in Australia at the time.

Fortunately, another group agreed to purchase the airline, but the future is still unclear about whether they will carry on with the Virgin Australia banner or make a new one.


Swissair was one of the most formidable airlines even during its early years. Founded in 1931, Swissair ruled the sky as a respected airline. On this airline, travelers felt as though they were premiere passengers. Customers always noted that the airline curated an exceptional travel experience.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
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However, greed got in the way when the company felt like it had to take equity stakes in many other airlines during the 1980s and 1990s. This ultimately stretched the company’s finances, and the airline began to struggle. Passengers felt the sudden change in service standards, and flights became irregular.

The company slowly lost a lot of its profits, and added to the weight of its equity stakes, it soon plunged itself into bankruptcy. The airline stopped operations in March of 2020 while the assets were transferred and reorganized to become Swiss International Air Lines.


Alitalia was the largest airline in Italy and was based in the capital city of Rome. Early on, the airline showed signs of financial issues, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the struggle became very real. However, years went by, and the airline remained afloat and was still turning in a bit of profit.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
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However, the pandemic was the final nail in the coffin for the struggling airline. On October 15 of 2021, the airline announced its final flight and finally closed its doors.

The airline’s assets were transferred to Italy’s new national carrier ITA Airways. After the closure of the airline, the government now has full control of the assets and began operating it under the new banner.

Philippine Airlines

For the last five years, Philippine Airlines has not been profitable and was losing a lot of its assets. The travel fallout due to the pandemic further exacerbated this loss, and the company was forced to file for bankruptcy and shut down for a while.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
Image Source: Skytrax

However, there areplans at hand to save the airline from complete loss now that owner billionaire Lucio Tan has received a US court approval to instate a restructuring plan. While this may still not keep the airlines in the air, there is hope that it would turn the tide around.

There is still a rough road to travel for the airline to regain its wings and soar again. The future remains to be very bleak for the airline with the ongoing travel restrictions all over the world.

Pan American World Airways

Pan American World Airways, more popularly known as Pan Am, was one of the most popular airlines in the United States and all over the world. It is also one of the most prestigious and most luxurious airlines in the world. Pan Am was a historic airline as it was the founding member of the International Air Transport Association, which governed most airlines.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
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The airline was the main international air carrier of the United States for more than 50 years. However, its decline started around the 1970s when more airlines became key competitors. Add to the fact that there was also a marked increase in fuel prices and the decreased interest in international travel at the time, and the airline began to suffer some losses.

However, it was the tragic terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 259 people alongside 11 members of the ground crew that ultimately took out the once prestigious airline. A few years later, the airline filed for bankruptcy and sold many of its assets.

Trans World Airlines

Pan Am’s direct competitor, Trans World Airlines, was also one of the most luxurious airlines in the country. The airline was a result of two companies that merged, namely Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The airline made headlines in 1940 when billionaire Howard Hughes acquired the company.

Discover These Airlines That Went Bankrupt
Image Source: FlyRadius

The innovative airline was one of the most prized airlines at the time. Trans World Airlines was a direct competitor of Pan Am. Unfortunately, much like its competition, the airline struggled a lot financially. In the 1960s, Trans World Airlines had financial issues after loaning money from the owner, Hughes. In fact, this transaction almost led the company to bankruptcy. Soon, Hughes relinquished control of the company and sold his stock.

The 1970s was harsh on the airline as fuel costs began to rise, and the attempts at diversification by acquiring Hilton International and Century 21 became an issue. In the next few decades, the airline suffered major financial losses and was forced into bankruptcy in 2001.

Also read: British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card – How to Apply


These airlines were once very popular and even contributed to the advancement of air travel. Many of them have common issues relating to their bankruptcy which should be a lesson for those who are still operating today.

It is still very surprising to note that these prestigious airlines that once ruled the air have now been grounded. Today, airlines make money through a whole host of services, including airline credit cards. So, hopefully, they are a bit more secure than airlines in the past.

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