Norwegian cancels all flights in Scandinavia

Norwegian Air Shuttle is to cancel all flights in Norway, Sweden and Denmark on Wednesday, leaving some 35,000 passengers stranded, in a dramatic escalation of its ongoing dispute with pilots.

Norwegian cancels all flights in Scandinavia
Two Norwegian aircraft parked at Oslo Airport on Sunday evening. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold/NTB scanpix
"Despite repeated attempts by management to engage in constructive discussions to prevent a hardening of the strike, dialogue was was not possible," the Norwegian airline said in a statement on Tuesday night.  
"This unfortunately leads to the cancellation of all domestic flights in Norway, Sweden and Denmark tomorrow, Wednesday, March 4th. All departures between Scandinavian capitals are also canceled." 
As many as 700 of Norwegian's pilots are set to go on strike on Wednesday, as all the company's Norwegian and Swedish pilots join the strike that began on Saturday, following more than three months of fruitless negotiations over pay and conditions. 
The airline on Tuesday said it would also send as many as 800 cabin staff home without pay as it institutes its threatened lockout of workers. 
"It goes without saying that if the pilots are not going to work, we have to lay off the crew," press spokesman Lasse Sandakerveien-Nielsen said. "There is talk of up to 800." 
Delays and cancellations have affected a small number of flights in Norway and internationally since 70 pilots from the company's Norway subsidiary went on strike on Saturday. 
As well as its flights in Scandinavia, eleven international flights to Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Latvia, had also been cancelled by Wednesday morning, according to Norway's VG newspaper. 
Pilots based in Finland and Spain could be brought in if the strike expands, Norwegian has said.
On Monday the company’s board held a six-hour emergency meeting, but, contrary to media reports on Sunday night, the board did not use the meeting to declare its Norwegian subsidiary bankrupt. 
Norwegian is Scandinavia’s third-largest airline and has around 4,500 employees. Its parent company Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) is partly owned by subsidiaries in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Singapore.
The company has set up a phone number in Norway where passengers whose flights have been cancelled can rebook tickets and request refunds. 


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Find out what’s going on in Norway on Thursday with The Local’s short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday 
Oslo Operahus. Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Strikes could affect vulnerable children 

Municipal strikes among teachers and nurses could impact vulnerable children, the children’s ombudsmen has said. 

“I am concerned about the overall consequences that the strike and the pandemic may have on children and young people. The students bear a disproportionately large part of the burden, which increases each passing day,” Inga Bejer Engh, children’s ombud, told press agency NTB. 

Municipal workers have been on strike since last week when mediation talks between union Unio and municipalities over wage settlements broke down. 

Cases of Delta Covid variant detected in Trondheim

There have been 11 potential cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19, which is believed to have originated in India, in Trondheim, Central Norway. 

“We have done a partial genome sequencing and have identified 11 cases of the Indian variant in Trondheim. We are 99 percent sure that it is the Indian variant we are dealing with,” Chief Physician at St Olav’s Hospital told local news site Nidaros.

According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, there have been 55 cases of the Delta strain detected in Norway. 

On Tuesday, coronavirus measures in Trondheim were tightened for the second time in a week. 

New quarantine hotel rules 

From today, anyone who has received their first coronavirus jab in Norway, at least three weeks before their arrival, and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the country in the last six months will not be forced into quarantine hotels when they arrive in Norway.

READ MORE: Norway eases Covid hotel quarantine rules

Travellers arriving in Norway who were vaccinated in foreign countries will still have to enter quarantine hotels.

The scheme will be in place until Norway’s full “coronavirus certificate” is released on June 11th.

READ MORE: NEW: Norway to launch full version of digital ‘Covid certificate’ 

Norway to provide poorer countries with 1 million extra Coronavirus vaccines 

Norway has said it will provide an extra one million Covid-19 vaccine doses to low-income countries through the equitable access Covax scheme. 

Led by organisations including UNICEF, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Covax aims to offer equal access to vaccines for all countries. The scheme is primarily funded by wealthy Western countries, with the EU having pledged €500 million as of November 2020.

The Nordic country had previously provided poorer countries with the option to secure 700,000 vaccine doses through the scheme. 

READ MORE: Why Norway turned down the chance to order nearly 700,000 Covid-19 vaccines

353 new Covid-19 cases in Norway 

On Wednesday, 353 new cases of coronavirus were registered in Norway. This is eight cases more than the seven-day average of 345. 

In the capital, Oslo, 128 new Covid cases were registered in the city. Cases have risen sharply in recent days and yesterday’s figures represent an increase of 69 on the seven-day average. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable.

Number of reported Covid-19 cases. Source: NIPH