Airline Norwegian says passenger numbers up this summer

Low-cost airline Norwegian says it is operating flights close to full capacity in a marked improvement on performance in recent years.

Airline Norwegian says passenger numbers up this summer
A Norwegian aircraft on the tarmac at Aalborg Airport. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Traffic figures for the company for July show that seat occupancy on flights was 95 percent, the highest level for several years.

A total of 2.2 million passengers used the company last month, three times as many as in the Covid-affected month of July 2021.

“It has been a good summer for Norwegian,” CEO Geir Karlsen said in a statement on Thursday.

“We had the highest occupancy level for many years in July and operated almost all flights despite many and major challenges for aviation in Europe,” he said.

July 2019 saw a higher number of passengers fly with Norwegian, however. The total that month was 3.7 million.

The airline has struggled in recent years including before the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in it cutting long haul services and filing for bankruptcy protection in 2020.

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SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”.