Norwegian cuts losses despite impact of strike

Norwegian cuts losses despite impact of strike

Scandinavian low-cost carrier Norwegian cut its first quarter losses but still suffered from a damaging strike by pilots.

The airline incurred a loss of 538 million Norwegian krone, an improvement of NK57 million on the same period in 2014.

The quarterly results were affected by the pilot strike in Scandinavia and the weak Norwegian currency.

Norwegian saw an increase of 320,000 passengers from the UK and Spain but numbers were down by 190,000 in Norway and Sweden, mostly due to the pilot strike. This was offset by Easter traffic, which came in the first quarter this year compared with the second quarter last year.

Overall passenger carryings for the three months rose by 2% to almost five million, with strong growth outside Scandinavia which remained unaffected by the industrial action.

Total revenue rose by 14% to more than NK4 billion as the load factor increased by six percentage points to 83%.

Future bookings are looking good, particularly on long-haul routes from Gatwick, the airline said.

Chief executive Bjørn Kjos said: “Traditionally, the first quarter is low season, and in addition the figures have been significantly affected by a weak Norwegian currency against the dollar and the euro.

“At the same time, the pilot strike in Scandinavia made many customers choose our competitors.

“On a positive note, the passenger growth outside Scandinavia is strong, particularly on our long-haul routes.

“The passenger growth is especially strong at London Gatwick and future booking figures are looking good.”

Norwegian took delivery of two Boeing 737-800s in the first quarter, in addition to one Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in March/April. The airline also launched several new long-haul routes.

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