Fully half of the emergency loan package, or 3bn NOK ($278m) has been allotted to Norwegian, 1.5bn NOK will go to SAS, and the remaining 1.5bn NOK will be shared between Widerøe and other, smaller airlines.
“There are difficult times for the airline industry, but we believe this is a package that will make it easier for it to get through a demanding time,” Industry Minister Iselin Nybø said as she announced the package on Thursday evening.
Norwegian chief executive Jacob Schram said he was “very grateful” for the government aid: “We think it is very positive that the Norwegian authorities have come up with a package of measures for aviation in Norway.”
“We have been clear that we need liquidity and that we need it quickly,” he said, adding: “We will turn around now and get started on this tomorrow.”
Norwegian chief executive Jacob Schram. Photo: Norwegian.
The funding for Norwegian is structured into three stages:
- A no-strings-attached NOK 300m loan guarantee which requires only that the airline finds commercial banks to take on 10 percent of loan.
- A second stage, which provides 1.2bn NOK on the condition that the airline's creditors agree to waive interest payments and other charges for three months.
- A final 1.5bn kroner stage, which requires the airlines to raise money through issuing equity.
SAS chief financial officer Torbjørn Wist also welcomed the package, describing it in a press release as “a constructive proposal that gives SAS respite in a challenging situation”.