Budget carrier Norwegian is seeing a trend for improving bookings, it said on August 31, 2021, after it reported a smaller loss for the first half of the year.

The Scandinavian carrier made a profit before tax of NOK1.59 billion ($183 million) in the first half of 2021, compared with a loss of NOK4.79 billion ($553 million) one year ago. Total revenue fell 92% to NOK591 million ($68 million), while capacity was down 94%.

Norwegian exited a restructuring process during the second quarter of 2021, having slimmed its fleet and switched its focus to short-haul European flying. 

Forward bookings continue to increase in response to the relaxation of travel restrictions and the roll out of international vaccination programs,” chief executive Geir Karlsen said in a statement. “We expect to see this trend continue in the remaining months in 2021 and through 2022,” Karlsen added.

Norwegian said owing to the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not providing financial guidance for 2021. 

“Due to Norwegian’s strong financial position and the flexibility of our power-by-the-hour (PBH) lease arrangements we can deploy capacity back into the market at a pace that matches recovery of air travel demand,” the company stated in its first-half report.

The carrier plans to operate a maximum of 50 short-haul aircraft in 2021, increasing this to around 70 in 2022. 

At the end of the first half of 2021, its fleet comprised 51 aircraft, of which up to 32 were operational.

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