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RYANAIR

Pilots suspected of fleeing taxes

Norwegian tax officials have launched an investigation into suspicions of tax evasion by pilots and cabin crew working for airlines Ryanair and Norwegian.

The tax authorities in eastern Norway, Skatt Øst, plan to examine an arrangement whereby Norwegian citizens, resident in the country and working out of Norwegian airports, rent out their services to the airlines through foreign companies, often based in tax havens.

If found to have claimed tax residency abroad despite living in Norway, they risk being slapped with punitive taxes or could even face jail sentences.

“We’re investigating concrete cases of people who do not pay taxes in Norway but who do actually live here,” the head of the tax office’s anti-crime division, Jan-Egil Kristiansen, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

“This is serious. It undermines the tax base and is especially serious if the airlines are doing it on purpose,” said Kristiansen.

Airline Norwegian said it was not aware of the investigation but noted that it assumed contracted workers paid their taxes to the right countries. Ryanair did not respond to the newspaper’s queries.

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AIRLINE

Airline Norwegian posts 15 billion kroner loss after nightmare 2020

Low cost airline Norwegian has registered a loss of 14.9 billion Norwegian kroner for 2020, a year in which the company saw a drastic reduction in passenger numbers and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

A file photo of a Norwegian Air Shuttle plane in Finland.
A file photo of a Norwegian Air Shuttle plane in Finland. Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva / AFP

Low cost airline Norwegian has registered a loss of 14.9 billion Norwegian kroner for 2020, a year in which the company saw a drastic reduction in passenger numbers and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

The company published its annual results on Friday, revealing the huge operating loss.

Norwegian’s 2019 result, a loss of around 1.7 billion kroner, had put the company in a difficult position even prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak and its consequent travel restrictions reduced the company’s passenger numbers to 6.9 million in 2020. That is 29 million fewer than in 2019.

Not all of the loss is due to fewer passengers. Around half of the company’s devaluation is attributed to a depreciation of the value of its aircraft fleet, news wire Ritzau reports.

“2020 was an exceptionally demanding year for air travel and for Norwegian,” CEO Jacob Schram said in a statement on the annual results.

“In light of that, the result for the fourth quarter (of 2020) is not surprising. Unfortunately, the majority of our employees are furloughed and many have lost their jobs – in part because of the closure of long distance services,” he added.

The company was already in debt prior to the pandemic and is now under bankruptcy protection in Ireland and is undergoing similar process in Norway.

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