Cheap flights to the USA grounded for another year

 

Budget airline Norwegian Air has announced that it doesn’t expect to re-launch flights from Europe for another year, even though it is currently selling seats from London Gatwick from this June onwards.

The airline says that once travel restrictions are lifted it will re-launch flights within Scandinavia, followed by flights from Europe from April 2021, gradually ramping up its services by next summer.

However, it said it doesn’t expect to get back to “normal” operations until 2022 and it is planning to reduce its fleet from 168 aircraft down to no more than 120.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the airline offered cheap flights from London Gatwick to 11 cities in the USA, including New York with fares from less than £145 one-way, plus flights to Buenos Aires and dozens of destinations in Europe and Scandinavia.

Norwegian had already begun to scale back unprofitable routes, including several to the USA, prior to the Covid-19 outbreak after making a loss of more than $200 million last year. It was planning to reduce its capacity by 15% in 2020 to try to turn the business around.

The airline is hoping for around a £230 million government loan to see if through till the end of this year, but it has warned it might need even more money, depending on how long travel restrictions remain in place.

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