Norwegian Air returns to European skies

Passengers board a Norwegian Air plane in Kirkenes, Norway October 26, 2019. — Reuters pic
Passengers board a Norwegian Air plane in Kirkenes, Norway October 26, 2019. — Reuters pic

OSLO, June 17 — Low-cost airline Norwegian announced today it was reopening 76 European and domestic routes starting July 1, after months of keeping most of its fleet grounded due to the new coronavirus.

Norwegian, which has only kept eight aircraft in service to cover domestic flights, will roll another 12 planes out of the hangar, opening up routes to destinations such as London, Paris, Nice, Spain and Greece from Scandinavian capitals.

“Feedback from our customers has shown that they are keen to get back in the air and resume their travels with Norwegian beyond the current domestic services that we have been operating,” CEO Jacob Schram said in a statement.

“Norwegian is returning to European skies with the reintroduction of more aircraft to serve our key destinations which will ensure that we remain in line with competing carriers,” Schram added.

Passengers will have to adjust to some changes as flights resume.

Face masks will be required for anyone over six years old and no meals or drinks will be served onboard.

Already in financial straits before the Covid-19 pandemic, Norwegian has been hit hard as the new coronavirus heavily impacted demand for air travel.

On the verge of bankruptcy in May, the airline adopted a rescue plan that included converting part of its debt into new shares, enabling it to qualify for guarantees from the Norwegian government of a total of three billion Norwegian kroner (US$315 million).

The tentative resumption of European flights will allow around 200 pilots and 400 cabin staff, who had been temporarily laid off, to return to work. — AFP

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