The low-cost airline, Norwegian has announced plans to cut a number of routes across its network as well as closing bases in several cities across Europe and the United States – job redundancies are likely to be suffered. Norwegian said the decision has been made following a “comprehensive review” of its Boeing 737 operations which make up the majority of the Oslo-based airline’s aircraft fleet.
Bases in Palma de Mallorca (PMI), Gran Canaria (LPA) and Tenerife (TCI) in Spain; Rome Fiumicino (FCO) in Italy; and Stewart (SWF) and Providence (PVD) in the United States will all be axed, along with a number of routes which operate from these airport’s. Perhaps most interestingly, this decision will most likely deliver a death blow to Norwegian’s plans of operating single-aisle aircraft on TransAtlantic services.
“The company has reached a point where it needs to carry out the necessary work and make necessary adjustments in its route portfolio to improve its sustainability and financial performance amid this highly competitive environment,” the airline explained in a statement released late on Wednesday afternoon.
Norwegian says the news has already been shared with its employees and unions. Job transfers to bases in Oslo, Stockholm and Madrid have been offered, as well as opportunities on the airline’s Dreamliner fleet including at New York JFK. The cutbacks only affect the airline’s Boeing 737 operations and there is no change to Norwegian’s long-haul services on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.
Just before Christmas, Norwegian had to deny rumours that it was close to collapse and on the brink of defaulting on its loans. The airline has recently embarked on a massive cost-cutting programme that it calls #Focus2019 and which aims to save around $350 million within the next 12-months.
“We are grateful to our crew members at the bases affected for their hard work and dedication, and our goal is to ensure that all of this affects as few of our colleagues as possible,” explained Helga Bollman Lekness, the airline’s recently appointed Chief Commercial Officer.
Norwegian has expanded rapidly over the last few years but many analysts suspect the airline took on too much debt to fund a multi-billion order book of brand new aircraft including widebody 787 Dreamliner’s and Boeing’s next-generation 737 Max 8 that promises intercontinental flights on single-aisle aircraft.