Norwegian to cut workforce by half as cancellations grow

As the situation continues to rapidly deteriorate for the carrier, Norwegian has confirmed it will ground 40 per cent of its long-haul fleet and cancel up to 25 per cent of its short-haul flights until the end of May.

The latest move comes in response to new travel restrictions imposed by the Trump administration in the United States on travellers from Europe, and the spiralling coronavirus situation.

Jacob Schram, chief executive of Norwegian, said: “This is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the care and safety of our customers and colleagues.

“The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation.

“We urge international governments to act now to ensure that the aviation industry can protect jobs and continue to be a vital part of the global economic recovery.”

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From now until March 29th, Norwegian will cancel the majority of its long-haul flights to the United States from Amsterdam, Madrid, Oslo, Stockholm, Barcelona and Paris.

All flights between Rome and the United States will be cancelled until the end of May.

From March 29th until the end of April, all flights from Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Amsterdam, Athens and Oslo to the United States will be cancelled.

However, as the UK is not currently included in the restrictions, all routes between London Gatwick and the United States will continue to operate as normal.

“Our goal is to reroute as many of our customers as possible through London during this difficult period,” explained a statement from the low-cost carrier.

Short-haul network

Norwegian has said it will also cancel a large share of its domestic flights in Norway and flights within Scandinavia, such as Oslo-Copenhagen and Oslo-Stockholm.

Flights to Italy will also be cancelled.

Domestic and intra-Scandinavian flights will be combined to re-protect customers.

Customers booked to travel on affected flights will be contacted to discuss their options including rebooking onto a flight at a later date.

Layoffs

Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the coronavirus, and thus a dramatic drop in customers and subsequent production decline, Norwegian said it must look at all possible measures to reduce costs.

This includes temporary layoffs of up to 50 per cent of employees – and the number may increase.

All departments will be affected by the temporary layoffs, Norwegian said.

“We have initiated, in consultation with the unions, a discussion and mapping process and will then return with leave notices to affected departments, stations and employees,” the carrier added in a statement.

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