Aviation remains in serious crisis, pilots union Balpa has said after Norwegian Air confirmed on Thursday (14 January) it was withdrawing from the long-haul market.
Norwegian will instead make short-haul its sole focus, placing more than 1,000 UK pilot and cabin crew roles at its Gatwick long-haul hub at risk.
In excess of another 1,000 roles across Norwegian’s European and US long-haul operations are also under threat.
Balpa said around 300 pilots and more than 1,000 staff in total would be affected by Norwegian’s plans in the UK.
"This news will be personally devastating for all Gatwick-based crew," said Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton.
"The airline has struggled in the face of the ongoing Covid crisis, despite the combined efforts of all the company’s recognised trade unions, who have worked tirelessly to remain flexible and accommodating.
"The airline has failed for several reasons, but there can be no blame apportioned to the pilot, crew or other staff groups."
Strutton added the move was further evidence of an ongoing "death spiral" for aviation roles. "Make no mistake - aviation remains in serious crisis," he said.
In a letter to affected staff, Norwegian executive vice-president – people, Guro Poulsen, said the airline had sought at every stage "to safeguard as many jobs as possible".
KPMG is expected to oversee Norwegian’s insolvency plans for Norwegian Air Resources UK Limited, the carrier’s staffing and crewing operation in the UK, starting later this month.
"In the meantime, we will sadly have to initiate a collective redundancy process," Poulsen added.