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A WOW Air plane on the tarmac of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport, north of Paris., on Aug. 6, 2018.JOEL SAGET/Getty Images

Icelandair said on Thursday it had scrapped its all-share deal to buy WOW Air that had aimed to create a stronger international competitor, sending its shares down 10 per cent.

Privately held WOW Air, which has been reducing the size of its fleet and said its cash flow was under pressure due to stricter terms from creditors and lessors, said it was looking at other opportunities but did not give details.

Scrapping the merger follows the collapse in October of Icelandic-owned and Copehagen-based Primera Air, highlighting intense industry competition that has also driven Air Berlin and Britain’s Monarch Airlines out of business.

“The planned acquisition of Icelandair Group of WOW Air will not go through,” Bogi Nils Bogason, interim president and chief executive of Icelandair Group, said in a statement. “This conclusion is certainly disappointing.”

Icelandair had announced on Nov. 5 that it had agreed to buy its Icelandic rival provided conditions were met by Friday, when its board was expected to recommend the merger to shareholders.

Icelandair said it had cancelled the plan because those terms were unlikely to be achieved by the deadline, although it did not say what the conditions were.

This week, WOW issued a statement listing its challenges, including the cancellation of deal it had been working on to sell and leaseback aircraft. It said this had resulted in $25 million less cash inflow than planned.

It said it was seeking long-term funding after “a number of external and internal events have worsened significantly” since it raised 60 million euros in three-year bonds in September. It called the funding initiatives “a necessity for the business.”

WOW said its position been had affected by “bad publicity about the financial health of the company,” as well as higher oil prices.

“All the company’s lessors, creditors and authorities have been monitoring the situation even closer and demanded stricter payment terms then before further putting pressure on the company’s cash flow,” it said in this week’s statement.

Sydbank analyst Jacob Pedersen said the impact of higher oil prices this year and the challenges facing parts of the airline industry “seem to have landed on Iceland.”

WOW spokeswoman Svanhvit Fridriksdottir said the firm was making good progress in pursuing other opportunities and said ending the merger deal would not affect operations.

“It was clear at the outset that it was an ambitious task to complete all the conditions of the share purchase agreement in this short period,” WOW CEO Skúli Mogensen said.

Both Icelandic airlines use Iceland’s Keflavik Airport as their main hub between Europe and North America. Together they have a combined 3.8 per cent share of the transatlantic market.

Icelandair has lowered its guidance for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) twice in 2018.