Norwegian’s new boss has sounded a positive tone after assuming control of the budget carrier in the new year, stressing forward ticket sales for the coming months were "looking good".
Jacob Schram was appointed chief executive in November and took on the role from acting chief executive Geir Karlsen on 1 January 2020, with Karlsen returning to his role as chief financial officer.
Schram will be tasked with leading Norwegian’s ongoing transition from growth to profitability which the carrier, in its December traffic statement, said was born out in overall unit revenue up 7%.
Norwegian’s 2019 carryings fell 3% from 37.3 million to 36.3 million on account of planned reduction in capacity and optimisation of the carrier’s route network.
Load factor for the rolling 12-month period to 31 December, meanwhile, increased 0.8 percentage points to 86.6% while Norwegian was able to cut carbon emissions by 4% to 69 grams per passenger.
In December specifically, Norwegian’s passenger numbers decreased 19% year-on-year to 2.26 million on an improved load factor of 83.5%, up 4.9 percentage points. This, balanced against a reduction in capacity of a quarter to 6.4 million seats pushed December unit revenue up 21% year-on-year.
“Throughout 2019, Norwegian’s dedicated employees have made an impressive effort delivering on the strategy of moving from growth to profitability,” said Schram.
"The company has worked on reducing capacity in line with demand and worked continuously to set a route structure adapted to the large seasonal fluctuations across the industry.
"At the same time, emissions are being reduced compared to previous years. The ticket sales for the next months ahead are looking good, both for business and leisure travellers."
Norwegian operated 99.5% of its scheduled flights in December, up 0.4 percentage points on the same period last year, with 78.4% of flights departing on time, up 2.7% percentage points.