MIAMI – Scandinavian low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) plans to expand its fleet to 50 aircraft in 2021 and to 70 in 2022, in line with a system of regional and short-haul routes throughout Europe. 

The airline said in a first-quarter earnings report that capacity will be steadily reintroduced into the market because passenger demand is unlikely to rebound to 2019 levels before 2023 or 2024.

When limitations on travel permit, Norway intends to provide a balance of intra-Nordic and domestic routes to its four central market sources in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland and offer flights to “Key Cities and popular recreational destinations” all across Europe. 

In both Ireland and Norway, the airline has been undergoing court-ordered restructurings. Norwegian has ceased all long-haul flights as part of the restructuring.

Norwegian G-CKWP Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways

Comments from Norwegian Air CEO

“The effect on our company as a result of international travel restrictions, which have persisted this quarter, is as expected,” said CEO Jacob Schram. 

“Nevertheless, Norwegians continued to reach many milestones in this difficult period, which will secure our future and ensure that the airline continues to be a key player in the European market. 

“As European vaccination programs grow and travel restrictions start to ease, our customers will be ready for a new Norwegian with a sound financial footing as they look to go to the skies once more.”

Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-8JP with Karen Blixen tail. Photo: John Leivaditis/Airways

Current Active Fleet and Future Routes

Norwegian has only flown a fleet of nine Boeing 737-800s since December 2020. According to OAG Schedules Analyzer info, the airline is flying 15 routes this week (w/c April 26, 2021), 12 of which are from Oslo Gardermoen (OSL).

34,224 of the carrier’s 37,200 available seats are on domestic Norwegian routes. This week, the only non-Norwegian domestic routes are OSL-Copenhagen (CPH) and CPH-Aalborg (AAL). 

Flights to Barcelona (BCN), Belgrade (BEG), Berlin (BER), and Malaga (AGP) are expected to resume in the coming weeks, according to OAG information.

For the first three months of 2021, Norwegian announced a loss before tax of NOK1.19bn (US$145m). At that time, the airline carried a total of 210,000 passengers, compared to 5.08 million in the first quarter of 2020.

In May, the company hopes to collect financing and equity, with a minimum of NOK4.5bn and a maximum of NOK6bn. In a note, Norwegian said, “Such offerings are expected to take place during the second quarter of 2021, and the examinership and restoration processes are expected to be completed at the same time.

Featured image: Norwegian Air Shuttle LN-DYF. Boeing 737-8JP(WL). Photo: Fabrizio Spicuglia/Airways