Norwegian, one of the first international airlines to offer low-fare prices on long-haul routes, needs to have a closer look at its finances it seems. In 2018, Norwegian flew 37.3 million passengers around the world, an increase of 13% from 2017. However, its average load factor decreased from 87.5% (2017) to 85.8% (2018).

After rapidly expanding its fleet and network in 2018, the Scandinavian carrier is looking at slowing down in 2019. The past year was full of risks and expenses for the carrier, so now it must slow its investments and avoid debt in 2019. The following weeks and months will show whether Norwegian’s efforts will have the desired effects.

To reduce operating costs, Norwegian will remove crews from its overseas bases around the world. Affected airports include Providence, USA; Stewart, USA; Palma, Spain; the Canary Islands, Spain; and Rome, Italy. As another consequence, Norwegian will close some unprofitable routes. Examples include London Gatwick to Singapore and Edinburgh to Stewart.

In 2018, International Airline Group (IAG) tried on multiple occasions to take over the Scandinavian carrier. Norwegian still wants to fly independently, despite its slipping market share.

To reassure investors, a Norwegian spokesperson announced that all flights in the summer timetable will be operated as displayed with no cancellations. However, the spokesperson could not promise that there won’t be cancellations for the 2019/20 winter timetable. He said that it depends on profitability.

Featured image by Simon Müller/Aeronautics Online

Categories: Industry Talk