Shares in the low-cost long-haul airline Norwegian fell by more than 25 per cent on the Oslo Stock Exchange on Friday as markets reacted to the news that, like many other airlines, the carrier was seeing a significant drop in forward bookings. Norwegian said it was adjusting capacity by cancelling at least 22 long-haul flights between Europe and the United States from March 28 through May 5.
“We are currently experiencing reduced demand on some routes due to the coronavirus and have therefore cancelled some flights between Europe and the U.S.,” said Norwegian’s chief executive, Jacob Schram who took the helm in January.
Schram was chosen to take over from a temporary management team as part of efforts to bring the loss-making airline back into profitability. Last month, the carrier reported an annual loss NOK 1,609 million for 2019 – more than 10 per cent the loss recorded in 2018.
Attempting to calm the market, Schram said Norwegian was less exposed to falling passenger demand from the Coronavirus because its customer base is largely made up of leisure travellers. Many airlines are feeling the pinch from corporate clients banning their employees from flying abroad on business.
Norwegian said it was further insulated from the COVID-19 outbreak because it only operated a small number of flights to Italy and does not have any flights to heavily affected regions like mainland China or South Korea.
The airline had already reduced its planned capacity by as much as 15 per cent but said the “uncertainty and ongoing impact” meant it was no longer able to to provide financial guidance for 2020. “At this stage, it is too early to assess the full impact on our business,” the airline said in a statement.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.