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Low-Cost Airline Norwegian Records Higher Losses in 2019 as it Strives to Return to Profitability, Blames Boeing 737MAX Issues

Low-Cost Airline Norwegian Records Higher Losses in 2019 as it Strives to Return to Profitability, Blames Boeing 737MAX Issues

Norwegian is the world's sixth largest low-cost carrier and employs over 8,000 people. The airline now operates services to over 150 destination, including 30 long-haul routes. Photo Credit: Norwegian

Low-cost long-haul carrier Norwegian has recorded a loss of NOK 1,609 million in 2019 – Nearly 10 per cent more than the NOK 1,454 million loss reported the year before. The airline said it would reduce capacity by as much as 15 per cent over the next 12-months – an increase of 5 per cent on the previous guidance as it strives to return to profitability.

“2019 marked a new flight path for Norwegian as the company changed its strategy to move from growth to profitability,” explained the airline chief financial officer, Geir Karlsen.

Karlsen revealed that Norwegian had saved a massive NOK 2.3 billion through its #Focus2019 cost-cutting programme. The airline plans to cut costs even further in 2020 with a new programme codenamed NEXT.

New chief executive Jacob Schram, who only joined the carrier in January, remained optimistic about the results saying Norwegian would continue turning “challenges into opportunities”.

Norwegian described 2019 as a “challenging year”, citing significant costs from the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737MAX and ongoing issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent engines on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet hitting its income.

Over the course of last year, Norwegian postponed some aircraft deliveries, sold off some aircraft and shares, and offloaded its entire domestic operation in Argentina to improve liquidity.

Other highlights for 2019 included:

  • Total revenues increased by 8 per cent to NOK 43.5 billion
  • Load factor for the year came in at 86.6 per cent
  • A total of 36 million passengers flew Norwegian in 2019

Norwegian now only expects the Boeing 737MAX to return to service in September 2020 but based on that prediction, the airline is forecasting a return to profitability during this year.

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