Norwegian to end long-haul flights and focus on European network

Norwegian will focus on its core Nordics business, operating a European short haul network with narrow body aircraft.

Norwegian has announced that it will no longer fly long-haul routes, bringing an end to its low-cost, long-haul vision. Instead, the airline will focus on its core Nordics business, operating a European short haul network with narrow body aircraft.

In a recent announcement, the airline said that this plan will help it build a “robust and solid company that will attract investors and continue to serve new and existing customers”.

“Our short haul network has always been the backbone of Norwegian and will form the basis of a future resilient business model,” said Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian.

The current plan is to serve these markets with around 50 narrow body aircraft in operation in 2021 and to increase that number to around 70 narrow body aircraft in 2022.

Furthermore, Norwegian also aims to raise as much as NOK5 billion ($590 million) in new capital to finance its operations.

“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,” said Schram during the announcement last week.

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the entire aviation industry. Travel restrictions and changing government advice continue to negatively influence demand for long-haul travel, and Norwegian’s entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet has been grounded since March 2020. Future demand remains highly uncertain. Under these circumstances a long-haul operation is not viable for Norwegian and these operations will not continue. The consequence of this decision is that the board of directors of the legal entities employing primarily long-haul staff in Italy, France, the UK and the US have contacted insolvency practitioners. Norwegian will continue to assess profitable opportunities as the world adapts and recovers from the impact of COVID-19.

For an in-depth analysis of Norwegian’s financial performance and top routes, airports, and countries, read this article published by FTE sister publication