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Travel industry news

23 Mar 2018

BY Gary Noakes


Norwegian heads to Chicago as it bolsters finances

Norwegian will this weekend commence its latest long-haul route, days after it issued a profits warning and raised new funds.

Chicago beach

Norwegian heads to Chicago as it bolsters finances

The budget carrier begins daily flights from Gatwick to Chicago on Sunday (March 25), offering one-way fares from £139.90. The year-round service will feature an expanded Premium cabin with 56 seats offering more than a metre of legroom.


Chicago’s launch will be followed on Tuesday (March 27) by the start of flights from Gatwick to Austin, which will break a European monopoly British Airways has on this route.


Norwegian’s chief commercial Officer Thomas Ramdahl said: “We’re delighted to unlock another key gateway to the USA by launching the UK’s cheapest nonstop flights to Chicago.


“Our daily flights to Chicago builds upon our expanding long-haul network at London Gatwick and our strong reputation for providing high quality flights to iconic destinations at great value.”


Earlier this week, the carrier raised £119 million by issuing new shares after warning that losses in the first three months of 2018 would rise to around £24 million, compared with around £16 million last year. Five short-haul aircraft are being sold, raising an estimated $15-20 million; while six long-haul aircraft will be sold and leased back.


Norwegian lost £27.4 million in 2017 and warned that a 12% higher than budgeted fuel price and “challenging weather conditions” would impact results in the first quarter of 2018. This year will see Norwegian expand capacity by 40% as nine Boeing 787 long-haul aircraft are added to the fleet by the summer.


The second half of the year will see only two 787s delivered, with a total of 30 in the fleet. The airline said its liquidity was “satisfactory” and that “net cash is increasing, driven by strong presales”. It added: “Hence, Norwegian sees no need for additional funding of working capital.”

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