Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY/NAX) has said that it plans to temporarily lay staff off as it gets set to cancel 3000 flights following a sharp drop off in demand.
Like many other airlines, Norwegian is facing a tough time as people curtail travel plans in the wake of the global spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The cut in flights represent a 15% cut in capacity for the period of mid-March to mid-June and will affect Norwegians entire network including Norwegian Air International (D8/IBK) and Norwegian Air UK (DI/NRS) which both have bases at London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK)
Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said “This is a critical time for the aviation industry, including us at Norwegian. We encourage the authorities to immediately implement measures to imminently reduce the financial burden on the airlines in order to protect crucial infrastructure and jobs”
Talking about Norwegian staff, Mr Schram added “Unfortunately, cancellations will affect a significant share of our colleagues at Norwegian. We have initiated formal consultations with our unions regarding temporary layoffs for flying crew members as well as employees on the ground and in the offices. We will continue to engage in constructive dialogue with unions and employees to work through this difficult situation together,”
Norwegian has been in a recovery process for some time and has been slowly growing its financial status but sources close the airline have suggested that this drop-off could place significant pressures on the carrier’s finances.
One source said that Norwegian is unlikely to have the cash to cover a serious downturn for more than about a month.
The Coronavirus spread was one of the factors cited by Flybe when it collapsed last week.