Scandinavian carrier Norwegian is joining local rivals by trimming routes ahead of uncertain winter demand.
The low-cost airline said in its third-quarter results statement on October 26, 2022, that it will reduce capacity by some 25% over the winter months, making the most of flexible aircraft lease arrangements.
Norse Atlantic and Flyr have also announced plans to cut back on winter flying in light of challenges such as high energy prices, rising inflation and uncertain demand.
Still, Norwegian sounded an optimistic note on bookings and also highlighted that business travel on busy domestic routes in Norway was back to pre-pandemic levels.
“While demand for air travel may be impacted by the current macro-economic and geopolitical uncertainty, booking trends remain encouraging with an increasing number of passengers choosing to fly with Norwegian”, said chief executive Geir Karlsen.
For the third quarter of 2022, Norwegian reported earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of NOK 1.03 billion ($99 million), compared to a loss of 296 million ($27 million) for the same period in 2021. It said record high unit revenue boosted profits, but high fuel prices and the strong US dollar were headwinds.
Many airlines and airports suffered with delays and cancellations in summer 2022 due to staff shortages. Norwegian said the proportion of its flights that departed on schedule was almost 74%, down from 79% in the second quarter. However, regularity, the share of flights that actually took place, was unchanged at 99.4%.
Norwegian had 69 Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet during the quarter. This number should increase to 85 aircraft for summer 2023, the carrier said.