This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Norwegian has just announced that they’re grounding 40% of long haul planes, and laying off up to 50% of employees.
Norwegian grounding 40% of long haul fleet
As Jacob Schram, Norwegian’s CEO, describes the situation:
“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.”
Which Norwegian flights are being canceled?
For the time being, Norwegian will continue to operate all 11 routes between London Gatwick and the US. Norwegian will try to reroute as many passengers as possible onto these flights.
In terms of cancelations:
- From March 13-29, 2020, Norwegian will cancel most long haul flights to the US from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Oslo, Paris, and Stockholm
- From March 13 until the end of May, Norwegian will cancel all flights between Rome and the US
- From March 29 until the end of April, Norwegian will cancel all flights from Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Madrid, Oslo, and Paris
Norwegian laying off up to 50% of employees
Norwegian has also revealed that due to this extraordinary situation, the company is looking “at all possible measures” to reduce costs. The airline plans to temporarily lay off up to 50% of employees, and that number may increase. All departments will be impacted by these layoffs.
The airline has initiated a discussion with unions about the process.
Can Norwegian survive this?
In many ways you can’t help but feel bad for Norwegian. Their business model was questionable to begin with, but they’ve also been supremely unlucky. They relied on the 737 MAX 8 and 787-9 for long haul flights, and they’ve had huge issues with both of those planes.
The airline has been undergoing a turnaround effort that really has been handled as well as it could be, and now they’re dealing with this.
Even with this Norwegian is taking drastic measures, but you can’t help but wonder if the company can make it through this. Their stock is down 19% today alone…
I would be extremely impressed if the company is able to make it through this.
All airlines are being hit hard by this situation, but Norwegian is probably being hit harder than most others. Their long haul operations are focused around travel between the US and Europe, and this latest travel ban will hit them hard.
The company was already on life support before all of this started, and this will only make things worse…