MIAMI – In light of the recent Coronavirus/COVID-19 breakout, Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) has been the lastest in a long list of carriers to cut capacity across their network. Norwegian’s cuts, however, are up there with some of the most drastic we’ve seen thus far.

To offset the diminished demand for flights, Norweigan plans to cancel around 3000 flights in the mid-March to mid-June period. The decrease represents an approximate 15% reduction in overall capacity across the network.

“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,” said CEO Jacob Schram of Norwegian.

As is stands, in the UK and Ireland, Norwegian carries almost 6 million UK passengers each year from London Gatwick, Edinburgh, and Manchester Airports to 30 destinations worldwide, with over 1200 UK-based pilots and cabin crew.

PHOTO: Juraj Patekar.

The second part of the cuts includes a temporary layoff for some flight crew members. It is unclear at this time how many crew members, and for how long these layoffs could last.

“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,” said Schram.

Necessary measures to offset the effects of the crisis

It is no secret that Norweigan is in a financial struggle, with Dreamliner engine issues, and the Boeing 737 MAX groundings being notable issues. It is, therefore, no surprise that measures are beginning to appear in an attempt to combat the ever more extreme circumstances which they now face financially.

Hopefully, with these measures and the lower cost of oil, the airline will be able to survive this rough period, which claimed the first airline victim last week when Flybe entered administration.