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Norwegian doubles profits in second quarter

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Norwegian doubles profits in second quarter
Inside Norwegian's new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. File photo: Heiko Junge/NTB scanpix
13:59 CEST+02:00
Airline Norwegian has posted a gross profit of 930 million kroner ($111 million) for the second quarter of 2016 - twice as much as during the same quarter last year.
The drastic increase on last year's second quarter result of 456 million kroner ($55 million) does not take into account losses incurred by the company when it was forced to cancel several of its services at the beginning of July.
 
"There is excellent progress in the vast majority of our markets, also long distance," Norwegian's communications director Anne-Sissel Skånvik told Aftenposten.
 
"Our aircraft are full to record levels with a level of 88 per cent in the second quarter [of 2016]. That is also an important contribution to the figures," said Skånvik.
 
The company's expenses increased by 23 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2015, an increase closely related to growth, according to a report in Aftenposten. A fall in the value of the Norwegian krone has also influenced profits.
 
Norwegian cancelled a number of its departures at the beginning of July, saying that it did not have enough pilots to work extra hours this summer.
 
During peak season, the company is dependent upon pilots being willing to sell their holidays for double pay in order to reach adequate staffing levels. 
 
Dagbladet has reported that the airline has offered pilots four times their salary to trade in their holidays.
 
"We had some challenges in June, but not to the same extent as in July," Skånvik told Aftenposten.
 
Norwegian's CEO Bjørn Kjos told broadcaster NRK that, while he was delighted at the latest result, upcoming profits would be tempered by compensation to passengers as well as the cost of leasing aircraft.
 
"After this summer, the leased aircraft will be phased out and we can then look positively at developments going forward," said Kjos.
 
Despite costs looking likely to hit profits to some extent in the next quarter, the outlook is still good for Norwegian, with 7.7 million passengers flying with the company in the second quarter of 2016 - up 11 per cent from 2015.
 
Airports that saw particularly strong increases in people using the airline include Oslo, Stockholm Arlanda, London Gatwick and the company's Spanish bases, reports Aftenposten.
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