Norwegian has announced it is forced to furlough employees and reduce capacity considerably following the Norwegian government’s decision to not support the company financially to get through the Covid-19 crisis while simultaneously imposing travel restrictions that actively discourage passengers from travelling.

    The airline says the consequences of the government-imposed travel restrictions are critical and Norwegian now has to keep its running costs to a minimum while it continues to work on solutions to survive.

    CEO Jacob Schram commented: “Following today’s disappointing announcement from the government, we have no choice but to furlough an additional 1,600 colleagues and park 15 of the 21 aircraft we’ve operated the past months. Recently government-imposed travel restrictions have effectively stifled any hope of a stable and progressive recovery, Norwegian has been hit from all sides by factors outside of our control.

    “This is a sad day for everyone at Norwegian and I sincerely apologise to all our colleagues that are now affected, but there is no other alternative. Prior to Covid-19, Norwegian employed more than 10,000 people, but the coming months there will be only 600 colleagues employed. Our goal is to keep six aircraft on domestic routes in Norway, and I expect that Norwegian will also receive route support from the Ministry of Transportation, as previously announced.”

    The airline says the significant route reduction will also affect customers who have already booked a flight with the carrier. “We will do everything we can to offer affected customers alternative travel option and I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by this situation. All affected customers will be notified by us directly,” said Schram.

    The airline says the following routes will be operated:

    Oslo – Alta

    Oslo – Bergen

    Oslo – Bodø

    Oslo – Evenes

    Oslo – Haugesund

    Oslo – Kirkenes

    Oslo – Molde

    Oslo – Stavanger

    Oslo – Tromsø

    Oslo – Trondheim

    Oslo – Ålesund

    Tromsø – Longyearbyen

    Norwegian was founded in 1993 but only began operating as a low-cost carrier with bigger Boeing 737 aircraft in 2002.