Norwegian Air Shuttle, which owns Gatwick based Norwegian Air UK and Norwegian International, has said it is being forced to furlough an additional 1,600 employees.
The airline had asked the Norwegian government for further financial assistance to get through the coronavirus pandemic but they refused, saying that extra loan guarantees would be too “risky” for the government and “not defensible”.
The decision means that the future is uncertain for the budget airline which has said it will run out of money in early 2021 if it doesn’t secure extra funding.
Norwegian chief executive Jacob Schram said: “The fact that our government has decided to refrain from providing Norwegian with further financial support is very disappointing and feels like a slap in the face for everybody at Norwegian who is fighting for the company when our competitors are receiving billions in funding from their respective governments,” adding “The company and the board will turn every stone to get through this situation,”
The airline has also said that it will need to ground 15 of the 21 aircraft it has been using during the pandemic slashing routes as a result.
Norwegian is currently only operating domestic routes in Norway with the UK and other European operations still on hold.
Mr Schram added: “We will do everything we can to offer affected customers alternative travel option and I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused by this situation. All affected customers will be notified by us directly,”
Once the latest round of staff furlough is complete, the airline will be operating with just 600 staff members.
Mr Schram presented a bleak outlook for the airline and used a Coronavirus analogy saying that Norwegian would need “ventilator support to get through the winter,”