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NORWEGIAN

Norwegian to slash staff by half in wake of Trump travel ban

Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Thursday it would temporarily lay off up to half its staff, following the US travel ban and the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Norwegian to slash staff by half in wake of Trump travel ban
A Boeing 737 33-S operated by Norwegian landing at Oslo's Gardermoen Airport. Photo: Erlend Aas/ NTB Scanpix/AFP
“The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation,” Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said in a statement, referring to the 30-day travel ban from Europe to the US introduced by US president Donald Trump.
   
“Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the coronavirus… we must look at all possible measures to reduce costs,” the company said in a statement.
   
“This unfortunately also includes temporary lay-offs of up to 50 percent of our employees and the number may increase,” it added, confirming the staff would be let go.
 
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The low-cost carrier also said it was cancelling more than 4,000 flights, including 3,000 already announced on Tuesday.
   
“We do not rule out that others may follow,” airline spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told AFP. “The situation is changing from minute to minute,” he told AFP.
   
According to the airline, about 40 percent of its long-haul fleet would be grounded as it was cancelling the majority of flights from European airports to the US.
   
The company said it would continue to operate flights between London — which is excluded from the travel ban — and the US, and hoped to re-route as many of its passengers as possible.
   
Norwegian, which has been in deficit for three years and is heavily indebted due to an ambitious expansion policy, especially in long-haul flights, has been plummeting on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
   
On Thursday, after the announcement by the US president, the share fell by 22 percent. The stock has fallen by over 80 percent in the last month.

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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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