MIAMI – It started with the Scandinavian countries, followed by the UK, Italy, France, and the US. Now, Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) has announced the closure of three of its five bases in Spain, sending home 1,191 employees.
The news was made public by the workers’ union USO. As stated on SurinEnglish.com, the bases in Barcelona (BCN), Gran Canaria Las Palmas (LPA), and Tenerife South Santa Cruz (TFS) are to be closed, with operations of long-haul flights from Barcelona stopped and short-haul operations “brutally cut”, said the USO union."…long-haul flights from Barcelona stopped and short-haul operations are "brutally cut." Spanish USO union Click To Tweet
The cut in operations, both long and short-haul, is in line with the news made by DY last January when it announced its intention to stop all long-haul flights and considerably downsize those short-haul, and reduce its fleet to 50 aircraft out of 156 it owned at the closure of 2019 fiscal year.
Norwegian will continue to operate out of in Malaga (AGP) and Alicante (ALC) but with a heavily reduced presence of only one aircraft based at each airport for at least the rest of the year. However, the airline’s plan for 2022 will be subject to travel restriction developments and economic recovery in Europe.
The airline is counting on having two hubs in Spain in summer 2022, with three aircraft each, and a possible requirement of 215 crew members, a number that may increase in function of the agreement to be reached with local unions. Flights to AGP and ALC are yet to be resumed since services were stopped in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
Since the end of 2019, DY is fighting a financial battle to avoid bankruptcy and has recently gained approval from courts in Norway and Ireland for its restructuring plan. When applied, the plan foresees a fleet reduced from 156 to only 50 aircraft, all single-aisle Boeing 737-800, to service short and mid-haul flights while long-haul has been completely abandoned.
Featured image: Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800 SE-RRZ – Photo: Andrea Ongaro/Airways