At the turn of the last decade Norwegian Air had proclaimed it would revolutionise long haul air travel by adapting it to the low-cost model that has been so successful for short haul travel. Their ambitions seemed possible with their acquisition of the Dreamliner – a lighter, fuel efficient aircraft made out of carbon fibre which had been designed specifically to bring down fuel costs and provide longer range flying.
After a difficult decade where the airline was on the verge of bankruptcy several times it seems the aspirations of delivering sustainable and profitable low-cost long-haul flying has finally come to an end.
In its announcement today the airline said that its long-haul flights would not resume even after the Covid 19 pandemic ended. Chief executive Jacob Schram said: “By focusing our operation on a short-haul network, we aim to attract existing and new investors, serve our customers and support the wider infrastructure and travel industry. Our focus is to rebuild a strong, profitable Norwegian so that we can safeguard as many jobs as possible.”
It would appear that whilst the shutdown of the travel sector as a result of Covid 19 has been a catalyst in making the decision today, the reality is that the crisis has simply brought home the reality of the long-haul low-cost operating model being unsustainable.
The news today will have profound consequences that extend far beyond the job losses. Norwegian’s drive to revolutionise the long-haul air travel market forced the legacy airlines to bring down costs and provide higher levels of service to justify the price differential. The consumer will therefore be the biggest loser as a result of today’s action.
Book by: Jun 7th 2022
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