As of 15 September 2019, Norwegian is discontinuing all of its routes between Ireland and North America and is contacting customers with offers to accommodate them on other Norwegian flights or offering refunds.
Norwegian is going through a serious cost-cutting exercise in a bid to stem the outflow of cash and to get the airline on a road which, eventually, will hopefully see it operate profitably and without the threat of bankruptcy hanging over its head.
When Norwegian burst on to the scene with its low-cost transatlantic fares just a few years ago a good number of its US routes operated in and out of secondary airports adjacent to the major cities which travelers want to visit. While the airline still offers flights to a number of such airports (Stewart airport in New York for example), a recent change of strategy has seen Norwegian move some of its flights to the primary airports in the metropolitan areas it serves.
Norwegian has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons recently as it managed to lose $210m in fuel hedges in 4Q 2018, it had to cancel all of its Caribbean routes in an attempt to cut costs, it had to cut its service between Paris Orly and New York and it had to announce a $353m rights issue to raise much needed funds....but it has not all been bad news.
Recently we've seen Norwegian cancel all its Caribbean routes, post a 4Q $210m loss in fuel hedges alone, refinance aircraft, sell aircraft and announce a rights issue to raise some much-needed cash...but now the airline has reverted to type and has announced two new routes across the Atlantic.
Norwegian is in the middle of a major rationalization program as it looks to get its finances in order and to stem the outflow of cash that has caused so much concern over recent months. The airline posted its full-year results just the other day and in the fourth quarter of 2018 it managed to lose over $200m in poorly executed fuel hedges alone....so things haven't been looking good.
Norwegian is the low-cost carrier whose growth has caught everyone by surprise, but the rapid expansion of its fleet and routes has come at the expense of profitability and, some would say, sound business practices. While the airline leads the way in keeping the costs of flying across the Atlantic as low as they are right now it has been hemorrhaging cash at a rate that most would agree is unsustainable....and Norwegian is finally taking steps to combat the financial issues it is facing.
Norwegian is probably my favorite airline that I've yet to fly as its existence is a major thorn in the side of the legacy carriers...especially those carriers that carry passengers across the Atlantic. I like that. I can't think of a time when air travel was a cheap as it is right now (you can fly across the Atlantic for $99 if you're flexible and can make do without most creature comforts) but the days of cheap flights depend on the survival of low-cost carriers and none is as important to cheap transatlantic fares as Norwegian.
Norwegian already offers free wi-fi on the majority of its short-haul routes and now the airline has announced that it has commenced the roll out of its wi-fi service on its 787-9 Dreamliners and on its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Yesterday Norwegian announced that it will be taking on British Airways head-to-head on the London – Rio de Janeiro route (BA currently has a monopoly on this route) and today the low-cost carrier has announced that it will be refocusing two transatlantic routes in a further attempt to steal market share from the legacy carriers.