Long-haul helps Norwegian double summer profits

Long-haul helps Norwegian double summer profits

Long-haul operations helped Scandinavian low-cost carrier Norwegian to double summer profits.

More sales were made by travel agents in the three months to September as online bookings declined.

The share of internet sales dropped by four percentage points to 75% as more bookings were made by agents. This led to a 44% rise in sales and distribution costs.

“Increased credit card commissions from sales in international markets and increased sales through travel agents more than offset unit cost reductions from increased sector length,” the airline disclosed this morning.

Norwegian saw its busiest ever summer in the UK, with more than one million passengers using the carrier from UK airports from June to September.

The strongest growth in passenger numbers was at Gatwick, where the airline operates a growing network of both long and short-haul routes.

The UK will be a key market in Norwegian’s future expansion plans, the airline revealed.

The airline reported third-quarter pre-tax profits up to £87 million from £43.5 million in the same period last year.

The load factor for the three months was up six percentage points to 91% per cent as passenger carryings rose by 9% to 7.7 million.

Long-haul passenger growth was up 15% year-on-year.

Chief executive Bjørn Kjos said: “The third quarter results show that Norwegian’s long-haul operations and international routes are becoming significantly more important.

“This is where we see most of the future growth potential, enabling the company to compete in a global market with strong competition.

“UK activity has played a crucial role in a strong third quarter for Norwegian, with Gatwick seeing our biggest overall growth in passenger numbers. With new aircraft and new routes planned, expansion in the UK will continue to be at the forefront of our long-term plans.

“We also see growth in Europe in general, while the Scandinavian market is stable. The Scandinavian and European route networks play an increasingly important role in our long-haul strategy, as many of our passengers use connecting flights with Norwegian.”

Norwegian’s transatlantic network will expand next year with the start of Gatwick to Boston flights n May 2016 in addition to flights to New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale.


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