On January 7, 2020, Norwegian Air Shuttle announced its traffic figures for December 2020. The air carrier blamed low demand on continuous travel restrictions across Europe. However, despite low demand throughout the month, the Christmas period was positive for the crisis-hit airline.
During the month, Nowegian carried 129,664 passengers, which marks a 94% decrease in passenger traffic compared to December 2019. The capacity (ASK) and total passenger traffic (RPK) were both down by 98%. The load factor was 52.3%, down by 31%.
The airline said it “mostly” flew on domestic routes, employing nine aircraft on average.
“The pandemic continues to have a negative impact on our business as it has had since March 2020,” said Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle. “At the beginning of last year, Norwegian was headed for a positive result in 2020, instead 2020 has been a very challenging year and we now find ourselves fighting for survival.”
On December 8, 2020, the Oslo City Court granted the crisis-hit Norwegian Air petition for a supplementary reconstruction process under Norwegian law. Since the airline is battling the pandemic, Norwegian began its restructuring process by returning its aircraft to lessors. The unpaid debts to lessors are reaching up to $4 billion.
Norwegian Air has already begun their aircraft returning procedures. The airline has already returned six Boeing B787 aircraft to Shannon Airport (SNN), Ireland. Those aircraft were previously operating on Norwegian long-haul flights.
The total number of aircraft being returned is to be confirmed, as not the whole Norwegian Air fleet is involved in the aircraft relocation procedures.
“Our goal is to be a financially strong and competitive airline, with a new financial structure, a rightsized fleet and improved customer offering,” Schram said.