Norwegian Air will seek to raise up to NOK 6 billion (£515 million) to guard against the ongoing "unpredictability" in the travel sector caused by the Covid pandemic and associated travel restrictions.
The airline has extended the upper limit for its planned capital raise to NOK 6 billion after it was granted approval in both Norway and Ireland to progress with its wide-ranging restructuring effort.
Additionally, Norwegian said the process would "sharply reduce" its debt by up to NOK 65 billion (£5.3 billion) compared to levels at the end of 2019. It has also cancelled aircraft orders worth NOK 85 billion (£7.3 billion).
Chief executive Jacob Schram confirmed the move in a statement issued on Wednesday morning (14 April), and put the decision to expand the scope of its cash raise down to "several factors". It comes after the airline presented its reconstruction plan to creditors last month.
"We want to take a conservative approach at a time when the pandemic and travel restrictions continue to create unpredictability in the travel sector," said Schram.
"Therefore, we must take this uncertainty into account in our forward planning strategy. At the same time, we have also taken into consideration feedback from investors, as well as dialogue with our board."
Schram said Norwegian’s proposed new organisational structure and operating model, which has been greatly simplified, would ensure the carrier is a "significantly more competitive company than before".
"This will not only be the case when compared to how we were before the pandemic struck, but also in view of the competitive environment we envisage across the aviation industry in the future," he said.
Norwegian chief financial officer Geir Karlsen added: "We greatly appreciate the long-term support that we have already received for the restructuring and capital raising from individual investors during this time of unpredictability as a result of the pandemic.
"The debt will be reduced by between NOK 62 and 65 billion compared to the end of 2019, and we have cancelled aircraft orders worth NOK 85 billion. Total debt will therefore be between NOK 16 and 20 billion, of which NOK 6-7 billion is related to our aircraft fleet."
The carrier confirmed in early February it would be mothballing its long-haul operations, resulting in the loss of around 1,100 jobs at Gatwick. It is currently operating a small number of Norwegian domestic routes as the pandemic endures.