Norwegian plans to permanently end its long-haul flights in a bid to survive and focus instead on European short haul routes going forward. That will mean offloading its entire fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The low-cost carrier, which was one of the first no-frills airlines to fly long-haul, has not flown from its London Gatwick base since the first UK lockdown.
“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.
Norwegian plans to fly on domestic routes in Norway, across the Nordics, and to the main European destinations with only around 50 narrow body aircraft in operation in 2021. It will increase its fleet size to 70 planes in 2022.
Another target is to reduce its debt pile to 20 billion Norwegian crowns (£1.7bn), and raise four to five billion crowns in new capital.
“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,” commented Schram.
The carrier said a total of nearly 2,000 staff would be laid off in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and the US.