Airline faces ‘very uncertain future’.
Norwegian Air faces a battle for survival after its request for more financial aid from the Norwegian government was rejected.
The airline, which could have sold to IAG for $1.3bn in 2019, is facing a “very uncertain future” with “ventilator support” to survive the pandemic.
Although the airline had operated independently of the Norwegian state, many expected the government to save the airline.
However, Oslo said extra loan guarantees would be too “risky” and “not defensible” to the taxpayer.
Disappointed in the news, the airline’s chief executive, Jacob Schram, said: “We are called Norwegian, we are Norwegian. We are a part of Norway and Norway is a part of us. This is the way it has been for almost 20 years.
“The fact that our government has decided to refrain from providing Norwegian with further financial support is very disappointing and feels like a slap in the face for everybody at Norwegian who is fighting for the company when our competitors are receiving billions in funding from their respective governments.”
The carrier’s shares plunged on Monday morning to $0.064 per share, resulting in a 99% drop so far this year.
Norwegian Air now needs to find other sources of cash, either from existing shareholders or outside investors.
For the time being, it will ground all but six aircraft and operate only domestic routes through the winter, while furloughing another 1,600 staff, leaving only 600 employed.