It isn't news that the global pandemic has been disastrous for the airline industry, but it's worth remembering that even when it comes to disasters there are varying levels of severity. For some airlines, this crisis has been significantly more disastrous than for others, and Norwegian is one airline that's among those that have been hit the worst.
Yesterday, the Norwegian government confirmed that there would be no further financial aid offered to Norwegian despite the pleas of the airline's CEO, and now we're getting news that the airline has furloughed the vast majority of its employees leaving it with little more than a skeleton workforce. The situation at Norwegian has never looked so bleak.
We may be about to see the first major airline casualty of the current crisis and it's a casualty that quite a few people have been expecting for some time. Today, the government of Norway has announced that, as far as Norwegian is concerned, the wells have dried up and that it will not be offering the airline any further financial support.
On 19 March 2020, the Norwegian government announced that it was prepared to inject 6 billion Norwegian Krone (~$600m) to airlines under its jurisdiction with half of that sum earmarked for Norwegian. However, unlike a number of other governments who have bailed out their national carriers with very few caveats, the Norwegian government insisted that Norwegian meet certain strict criteria before it could qualify for all the aid available. As of today, Norwegian has met all those criteria.
It's no secret that Norwegian's finances have been strained to near breaking point in the past few years so the airline's latest move to introduce new fees for carry-on baggage probably shouldn't come as a surprise. Nevertheless, they're disappointing.
JetBlue and Norwegian have just announced that they have signed a Letter of Intent for an interline agreement which will "allow customers to combine low fares in a convenient single booking for connecting flights between the Americas and Europe".
Norwegian hasn't been going through the best of time of late with but with a big restructuring underway and a number of creditors placated (at least for the time being), the airline is now looking to increase services on some of its high-value routes as its quest for profitability continues.
Embattled low-cost carrier Norwegian has launched a UK sale offering discounts on flights between London and various cities within Europe as well as on flights between London and destinations in the US and South America. Short-haul fares start from £28.90 (one-way) while flights to the US start at £134.90 (one-way).
As of 15 September 2019, Norwegian is discontinuing all of its routes between Ireland and North America and is contacting customers with offers to accommodate them on other Norwegian flights or offering refunds.
Norwegian is going through a serious cost-cutting exercise in a bid to stem the outflow of cash and to get the airline on a road which, eventually, will hopefully see it operate profitably and without the threat of bankruptcy hanging over its head.