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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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AIRLINE

Airline Norwegian freezes reward programme amid crisis

Customers can no longer pay or earn cash points on flights with low-cost airline Norwegian.

Airline Norwegian freezes reward programme amid crisis
Photo: AFP

Customers will no longer be able to pay with or earn CashPoints, also known as Norwegian Reward, on flights with the airline or payments on your Norwegian credit card.

Norwegian notified customers of the changes in an email on Monday, citing the restructuring process the company is currently in. The company is currently under bankruptcy protection.

READ ALSO: Norway’s government offers hope to ailing airline Norwegian

This means that Norwegian customers for the foreseeable future will be unable to utilise CashPoints earned through flights or payments on the Norwegian credit card. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, the airline offered to refund customers whose flights were cancelled in cash points instead of cash refunds. These now cannot be used for the foreseeable future.

Norwegian “reserves” the “right to limit the use of CashPoints as payment until the effects of the pandemic subside and Norwegian can return to normal operations”, Monday’s email states.

As such, the decision is likely to last a long time, given prognoses surrounding when air traffic will return to normal. Currently, most airlines are not expecting a return to normal operations until sometime between 2022 and 2024.

The Reward programme is an integral source of income for Norwegian, and an important part of their strategy to establish customer loyalty. The programme was established in 2009 and has had a unique selling-point with one CashPoint equal to one krone earned.

The Norwegian Reward programme had more than 10 million members worldwide in 2019, according to the company.

The popular Norwegian Bank credit card associated with the Rewards programme had around 531,000 members in Norway, media Nordlys reported in 2018.

Norwegian often sells its ‘points’ to other companies, who in turn offer bonus points and deals with other businesses, for instance electricity providers and similar.

It is currently unclear how the restructuring process will affect customers’ CashPoints value, though it is expected that their demands are treated equally to other unsecured creditors.

The CashPoints’ longevity, however, have been extended for a year for those expiring in December this year. The expiry dates have been frozen on points earned since last year, according to Norwegian.

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