• Joe Breitfeller

Norwegian Exits Long Haul Flying, Will Focus on Dedicated Short Haul Network

The company’s entire fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners have been grounded since last March and as future demand remains uncertain, the company will focus on rebuilding a robust short haul network.

Norwegian Boeing 737-8 MAX - Courtesy Norwegian Air

On Thursday (January 14, 2021), Norwegian Air announced that they will exit long-haul flight operations as demand remains uncertain. The carrier’s entire fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners have been grounded since March 2020 and the company will now focus on building a dedicated robust short-haul network, offering domestic service in Norway, across the Nordics and to key European destinations. Currently, the airline plans on serving these markets with around 50 single aisle aircraft in 2021, increasing to approximately 70 aircraft in 2022. Additionally, the company hopes to reduce debt to around NOK 20 billion (US $2.4 billion) and raise NOK 4-5 billion (US $473-591 million) in new capital through a rights issue to current shareholders, a private placement and a hybrid instrument. In Thursday’s announcement, Norwegian’s CEO, Jacob Schram, said,

“Our short-haul network has always been the backbone of Norwegian and will form the basis of a future resilient business model. I am pleased to present a robust business plan today, which will provide a new start for the company. By focusing our operation on a short-haul network, we aim to attract existing and new investors, serve our customers and support the wider infrastructure and travel industry in Norway and across the Nordics and Europe. Our focus is to rebuild a strong, profitable Norwegian so that we can safeguard as many jobs as possible. We do not expect customer demand in the long haul sector to recover in the near future, and our focus will be on developing our short-haul network as we emerge from the reorganization process. 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.”

Recently, Norwegian Air has re-engaged with the Norwegian Government about potential state participation in the airline’s new business plan. With long-haul flying discontinued, the board of directors of the legal entities employing mostly long-haul employees in Italy, France, the UK and the US have contacted the appropriate insolvency practitioners. Customers impacted by changes in the company’s route network will be contacted directly and will receive refunds. The previously announced examinership and reconstruction processes in Ireland and Norway will continue as planned. The company’s new business plan remains subject to approval by the Examiner and Reconstructor, support from creditors and court approval.

Source: Norwegian Air