Ahead of a make or break extraordinary general meeting, the low-cost airline Norwegian has revealed that it doesn’t plan to resume European short-haul flights and its long-haul operations until April 2021. And even at that point, Norwegian only anticipate a “gradual ramp-up” with normal operations not set to return until January 2022 at the earliest.
In the meantime, Norwegian has entered a “crisis management” phase which involves a “total shut down of the business” and a virtual full grounding of its entire aircraft fleet. A three phased return to normality will then see Norwegian going through a extensive business restructuring before a return to service in Phase 3.
Norwegian is expected to hold a virtual meeting with shareholders on April 30 as part of crunch talks to turn debt into additional equity. The embattled airline will need to secure the support of shareholders in order to unlock the second and third tranches of a multi-billion Kroner government bailout.
Without the support of shareholders, the loss-making airline said the company would “run out of cash” by mid-May. Norwegian has cancelled over 95 per cent of flights. grounded its entire aircraft fleet except for seven planes and temporarily laid off 80 per cent of its total workforce.
Last week, crew management subsidiaries in Sweden and Denmark filed for bankruptcy resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs, while crew management contracts in the UK and Spain have been terminated until further notice.
In a presentation to investors, the airline revealed that just 200 staff remained working in operations.
As Norwegian emerges from the Coronavirus crisis, it expects to reduce its fleet by between 110-120 aircraft. The ‘New Norwegian’ will likely focus on its position in Scandanavia rather than pursue aggressive international expansion as it has done in recent years.
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.