DALLAS — Flag carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) anticipates a strong summer season, with average fares booked for the June-August period up by 25% compared to CY2022.
However, the company’s CEO, Geir Karlsen, expressed concerns over the risks posed by the Danish Air Traffic Controller (ATC) shortage, which may result in delays and cancellations at Copenhagen Airport (CPH).
“We are concerned that there won’t be enough staff over the summer,” he said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Naviair, the company responsible for ATCs who oversee Danish airspace, offered 46 air traffic controllers voluntary layoffs. This left the remaining staff to take on additional paid shifts as travel later recovered. However, there was a conflict over work hours, as controllers began turning down the extra work, leading to delays and cancellations.
Karlsen, the CEO of Norwegian Air, expressed concern and stated that they are following the situation closely as Copenhagen is important to them. Norwegian Air and SAS jointly wrote to Denmark’s government to push for a solution to the delays.
Naviair is now looking for alternatives, including moving flights to the nearby Malmoe Airport in southern Sweden. Nonetheless, Norwegian Air predicts a significant increase in unit revenue from last year to 2023.
The company reduced its net loss to US$94.7m in January-March, down from $96.4 million in the previous year. This occurred during the first quarter, which is typically a slow period for holiday travel, and the company reduced capacity by up to 30% to decrease costs.
Featured image: Norwegian Boeing 737-8 SE-RTC. Photo: Dominik Csordás/Airways