Continued travel restrictions across Europe have seen struggling Norwegian Air’s November passenger traffic fall 95% year-on-year.
The latest downturn came as it was reported that airline is calling on investors to provide another £340 million cash injection. The carrier is currently in an examinership, a bankruptcy protection process in the Irish courts after the Norwegian government recently rejected a plea for additional state aid.
The airline’s board has proposed “reconstructing” its balance sheet by cutting its fleet size and launching a new debt for equity swap and a rights issue of up to NOK 4 billion (£340 million). The debt-for-equity swap, which would be it’s second of the year, would include aircraft financing liabilities, supplier liabilities and bond obligations.
As part of the proposals, Norwegian said it could also only pay lessors when it used their aircraft to help it conserve cash, a so-called “power by the hour” deal. The proposals are due to be put forward at an extraordinary general meeting on December 17. “The company asks for the continued support of its shareholders to prepare for future capital increases in parallel with the restructuring of its balance sheet,” Norwegian Air said in a statement.
Chief executive Jacob Schram said, quote: “The pandemic continues to have a negative impact on our business as travel restrictions remain. The development of vaccines is great news for the airline industry, and we look forward to welcoming more customers on board as travel restrictions are lifted. Our goal is to be a financially strong and competitive airline, with a new financial structure, a right-sized fleet and improved customer offering. Our summer programme is now out for sale and the bookings are increasing. We can see that that people are slowly beginning to plan for their summer holidays. It is also worth noting that we have added 62 departures this Christmas and that bookings look promising. Now, we look forward to flying our customers home for Christmas.”
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