Norwegian to gradually cancel most flights and temporarily lay off 7,300 workers
Published on Monday, March 16, 2020
Norwegian has said stagnating demand and enforced travel restrictions by authorities worldwide mean it must gradually cancel most of its flights and temporarily lay off a major share of its workforce.
CEO Jacob Schram said: “What our industry is now facing is unprecedented and critical as we are approaching a scenario where most of our airplanes will be temporarily grounded.
“Several governments in Europe have already said that they will do everything they can to ensure that their airlines can continue to fly when society returns to normalcy.
“We appreciate that the authorities of Norway have communicated that they will implement all necessary measures to protect aviation in Norway, consequently securing crucial infrastructure and jobs.”
Norwegian has already discontinued a significant number of its flights and the main priority this week is to maintain as many scheduled flights as possible to ensure that customers are able to immediately return to their home destinations.
The company will also work closely with the authorities to arrange flights for the benefit of stranded passengers, if necessary. Customers who are directly affected by route changes and cancellations will be contacted by Norwegian via text message or e-mail.
“We understand that this extraordinary situation is stressful for our customers, but I want to assure everyone that we are working around the clock to ensure that everyone is taken care of in the best way possible at this time,” said Schram.
As a result of most of the company’s planes being parked, Norwegian unfortunately has to temporarily lay off more than 7,300 colleagues in total which equates to approximately 90 per cent of its workforce, which includes pilots, cabin crew, maintenance and administrative staff. The layoff procedures vary from country to country and Norwegian’s team is already in constructive dialogues with union and HSE representatives at all its locations across the network.
“It is indeed with a heavy heart we have to temporarily lay off more than 7,300 of our colleagues, but we unfortunately have no choice. However, I want to emphasize that this is temporary, because when the world returns to normalcy my goal is to keep as many of our dedicated colleagues as possible,” said Schram.
As of March 21, the company will primarily fly a reduced scheduled domestically in Norway and between the Nordic capitals. Some European flights will be operated. All intercontinental are cancelled except flights between Scandinavia and Thailand, which will operate the last flights at the end of March.
A limited schedule will remain in place until at least April 17 but will be reviewed on a regular basis in line with changes in travel restrictions and demand.