Coronavirus had “profound impact” on Norwegian Air last month as it slashed capacity by 85%.

Europe’s third largest budget carrier suffered a “dramatic drop” in demand following government-imposed travel restrictions and a general travel decline.

Unveiling March traffic figures, Norwegian Air revealed that an initial 15% capacity cut was adjusted to 85% from the middle of the month. Most cancellations started from March 25.

Passenger carryings in the month fell by 61% year-on-year to 1.1 million.

Chief executive Jacob Schram said: “The speed of the Covid-19 global outbreak throughout March had a profound impact on the entire Norwegian network as cancellations, in line with global travel advice and falling demand, were implemented throughout the month.

“Norwegian operated multiple rescue flights on behalf of the government to ensure that thousands of Scandinavian passengers could safely return home.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our dedicated colleagues, our customers and members of the public for their continued support.

“We will provide further financial and business updates to the Oslo Børs [stock exchange] when it is appropriate to do so.”