Norwegian boosted by Christmas bookings by woes continue

Traffic figures at Norwegian continue to be heavily influenced by lower demand caused by travel restrictions across Europe.

However, the low-cost carrier said Christmas bookings looked promising.

In November, 124,481 customers flew with Norwegian, a decrease of 95 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Capacity (measured in available seat kilometres) was down 96 per cent over the month, while the total passenger traffic (measured in revenue seat kilometres) decreased by 98 per cent.

The load factor was 44 per cent, down 39 percentage points.

Jacob Schram, chief executive of Norwegian, said: “The pandemic continues to have a negative impact on our business as travel restrictions remain.

“The development of vaccines is great news for the airline industry, and we look forward to welcoming more customers on board as travel restrictions are lifted.

“Our goal is to be a financially strong and competitive airline, with a new financial structure, a rightsized fleet and improved customer offering.”

He added: “Our summer program is now out for sale and the bookings are increasing.

“We can see that people are slowly beginning to plan for their summer holidays.

“It is also worth noting that we have added 62 departures this Christmas and that bookings look promising.

“Now, we look forward to flying our customers home for Christmas,” Schram said.

The company operated 72.7 percent of its scheduled flights in November, whereof 94.8 per cent departed on time.

Restructuring

The carrier has also outlined plans to ask shareholders to back an initiative to raise fresh cash.

The Oslo-based carrier said it aimed to raise up to NOK4 billion (€375 million) from the sale of new shares, state aid and some loans.

Norwegian is also proposing to swap existing debts, owed mainly to aircraft lessors and banks, for shares in the carrier.

It completed a similar exercise in May as its financial woes worsened in the face of Covid travel bans.

The airline intends holding an extraordinary general meeting on December 17th, where it will seek investors’ backing for the fund raising.

“The company asks for the continued support of its shareholders to prepare for future capital increases in parallel with the restructuring of its balance sheet,” Norwegian said in a statement.



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