Norwegian cuts long-haul flights as coronavirus hits demand
Norwegian has confirmed it will cancel a number of planned flights in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
The low-cost carrier said it had decided to cancel 22 long-haul flights between Europe and the United States from March 28th to May 5th.
Services from Rome to Los Angeles, Boston and New York will see a reduced number of departures during the period.
Flights from London to New York will be cut from three daily departures to two on some days.
Norwegian said during the past few days it had experienced reduced demand on some routes, particularly on future bookings.
Bookings for flights departing in the coming weeks are “less affected”, the carrier said.
The company has already reduced its capacity by up to 15 per cent this year as it seeks to return to profitability.
“Norwegian is monitoring the developments closely and is continuously evaluating additional changes to its schedule,” added a statement.
Customers impacted by the change will be contacted by Norwegian and offered a new itinerary.
Given the uncertainty and ongoing impact on overall demand for air travel, Norwegian said it had also withdrawn its financial guidance for the year.
“At this stage, it is too early to assess the full impact on our business,” the carrier added.
Airlines around the world - including Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways in the UK - have cancelled thousands of flights in response to the outbreak.
Airlines could end up facing a US$30 billion bill, according to IATA.
Norwegian carried 1,955,585 customers in February.
The planned capacity reduction and optimisation of the route network continues to impact the figures positively, the carrier said.
“I am pleased that we continue to deliver on the strategy of returning to profitability following several years of significant growth.
“This is the eleventh consecutive month that the planned capacity reduction has impacted the unit revenue positively.
“However, we are currently experiencing reduced demand on some routes due to the coronavirus and have therefore cancelled some flights between Europe and the United States,” said Norwegian chief executive, Jacob Schram.