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Oslo, Norway - Nordic budget specialist Norwegian said that it could ground nearly all planes in its feet until next year as the financially distressed airline struggles amid the global industry crisis.

The carrier is also considering how to reinvent itself to remain profitable - with its much-vaunted long-haul services likely to face the chop. The low-cost carrier, which has furloughed 80 percent of its staff and grounded all but seven of its planes, is trying to convince shareholders to accept a £230m state bailout. However, it predicts that operations may not resume in earnest until summer 2021, with the “New Norwegian” expected to be a streamlined version of its former self. To that end, its fleet could be cut by around 30 percent, it says, and its sole focus may be profitable short-haul routes.

Affected passengers due to travel can rebook free of charge (although options are extremely limited) or apply for a refund or voucher online. However, the airline warns:

“Due to the high number of requests we are dealing with, unfortunately, your claim will take longer than normal to process.”

Currently, just seven of Norwegian’s 147 jets are in service. All are operating subsidized domestic flights or carrying cargo instead of passengers. The coronavirus lockdown saw it ground the rest of its planes in mid-March when it also temporarily dismissed 80 percent of its workers.


Norwegian has long been tipped for financial failure as it battled to stay profitable while seeking to conquer the notoriously tricky low-cost long-haul market. In a twist of irony, however, the months preceding the coronavirus crisis were among the most successful in its recent history - thanks to cost-cutting measures and increased revenue it posted profits in both 2018 and 2019. Now it, like airlines around the world, is on the brink.

While it may still be saved, its long-haul services seem certain to be jettisoned. The airline introduced the first of its budget transatlantic flights in 2014, with fares from just £125 one-way, shaking up more established airlines’ grip on the market. Before the Covid-19 crisis, it offered services from London Gatwick (where it was the airport’s third-largest airline) to 12 US destinations – as well as other long-haul hubs such as Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

Where are its last seven aircraft flying?
The seven Norwegian planes still in service are operating domestic flights or carrying cargo. Flight DY616, for example, will fly from Oslo to Bergen on April 29. There are also services linking the Norwegian capital with Trondheim and Alesund, while Svalbard remains connected with Tromso.

“Our aircraft across all our modern fleet are fitted with the latest air filtration technology. The HEPA filters are effective at capturing close to 100 percent of airborne microbes – including bacteria and viruses – and have similar performance to those used in hospital operating rooms. To protect you, our crew, and other colleagues, we’ve introduced enhanced cleaning procedures and carry precautionary kits on all our aircraft. Should any suspected coronavirus cases occur on board, our crew is trained to handle such an event.”

The airline said.

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