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Norwegian joins new European airline alliance

Budget airline Norwegian announced on Thursday that it will join the new alliance Airlines for Europe (A4E), which will see it collaborate with Irish budget carrier Ryanair and others.

Norwegian joins new European airline alliance
Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT / NTB scanpix
Other members of the alliance include Air France-KLM, EasyJet, IAG Group and Lufthansa group. 
 
“Norwegian has always believed in healthy competition among airlines to create more choice and lower fares for passengers. But we also firmly believe in an industry where low-cost and network carriers can unite to tackle the many issues we all face together,” Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said.
 
“We are delighted to join Airlines for Europe to add our voice to the important debate about the huge challenges and opportunities our industry faces in the future,” he added.
 
Rumours had been circulating that Norwegian and Ryanair were working on a so-called feeder agreement in which Ryanair’s short-distance routes will be slotted in to Norwegian’s long-haul routes. 
 
“We have said that we are interested in cooperation with companies that can feed traffic into our long-distance routes, particularly at London Gatwick. Ryanair is an example of an operator that may be relevant for this,” Norwegian spokesman Lass Sandaker-Nielsen told Norwegian financial outlet E24.
 
The Irish Ryanair transported 7.5 million travellers in January, but the airline has no long-haul aircraft that can range across the Atlantic. Norwegian, meanwhile, has been steadily adding to its long-distance routes. 
 
The A4E group was launched last month and claims to account for more than half of Europe's passenger journeys. 
 
It was also announced on Thursday that Finnair would join the alliance. 
 
“Airlines for Europe is open for business and ready to represent the interests of all European airlines. We will grow our member base over the next months, uniting more European airlines to take forward changes that will increase our competitiveness and result in lower fares and more choice for passengers,” A4E managing director Thomas Reynaert, A4E’s Managing Director.
 
Just last week, Norwegian poked fun at Ryanair by getting involved in a minor political scandal in Denmark. Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen flew to Malaga on Ryanair despite the airline’s bitter battles with Danish unions and its lack of a collective bargaining agreement in the country. Rasmussen’s flight angered his political opponents but provided an opportunity for Norwegian to capitalize on the scandal with a cheeky ad aimed directly at the PM.
 
“You are always welcome on board with us, Lars. We have both a collective bargaining agreement and free wifi!” Norwegian’s Danish team posted on Facebook:
 
 

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Posted by Norwegian on Friday, February 19, 2016

 
 

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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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