Norwegian Air announced today, January 14, that it was cutting its long-haul services in an effort to stay airborne through the Covid-19 crisis, but needs the approval of an Irish court if it is to be successful.
Norwegian was forced to file for bankruptcy (known as ‘the carwash’ in aviation circles) in November 2020 after the Norwegian government failed to give it support, but did so under Irish law in an effort to gain protection from bankruptcy proceedings.
The low-cost airline said it was cutting its fleet from 140 planes to 50 and was focusing on its short-haul European network for 2021, increasing its fleet to 70 in 2022. It is also looking to raise between NOK4-5 billion (€385-481 million) in an effort to cut its overall debt to around NOK20 billion (€1.9 billion).
This morning it announced that it has “has recently reinitiated a dialogue with the Norwegian government about possible state participation based on the new business plan,” but the plan will need to be approved by an Irish court if it is to be viable.
It is unclear how many jobs will be affected by the decision, but CEO Jacob Schram struck a defiant note: “Our short haul network has always been the backbone of Norwegian and will form the basis of a future resilient business model.”
The decision to cut long-haul services has led to 1,100 job losses among staff and crew at Gatwick Airport – in addition to the 9,000 jobs already lost due to its financial difficulties. On the subject of possible job losses, Schram said “It is with a heavy heart that we must accept that this will impact dedicated colleagues from across the company. I would like to thank each one of our affected colleagues for their tireless dedication and contribution to Norwegian over the years.”