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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.
So far, amongst other things, we’ve seen Norwegian raise $353m from a rights issue and cancel all its Caribbean routes (and cut back in Paris) and now, in a move to save yet more cash, the airline is taking a hatchet to routes which are simply too unprofitable to operate…at least at certain times of the year.
For the coming winter season Norwegian is canceling ten of its transatlantic routes that, up until now, have run year-round.
The following routes will not operate during the winter 2019/20 season:
- Boston – Paris
- Chicago – London
- Denver – London
- Fort Lauderdale – Copenhagen
- Los Angeles – Copenhagen
- Los Angeles – Oslo
- Los Angeles – Rome
- New York JFK – Copenhagen
- New York JFK – Stockholm
- Orlando – Oslo
The airline says that some of these routes may return for winter 2020/2021 but, for now, the next time these routes are expected to operate will be the summer 2020 season.
Matthew Robert Wood, Senior Vice President of Norwegian’s Commercial Long-Haul and New Markets is quoted as saying the following:
“After a thorough review of our long-haul network and given that some U.S. markets are highly seasonal, it is a natural step to focus our operations this winter on counter seasonal routes that are more profitable, such as Asia, and also looking into growing our South America network”
As well as the ten routes which will cease to operate for the winter season, there will be two routes which will be canceled altogether.
Norwegian’s routes between Las Vegas and London Gatwick as well as its route between Orlando and Stockholm will shut down from the end of October and are not coming back anytime soon.
I suspect that the Orlando – Stockholm route simply wasn’t getting the passenger numbers required to justify its existence, while the Las Vegas – London route was probably the victim of too much competition for a route on which most passengers are probably originating in London.
Move like these are what we should probably expect to see from Norwegian as the airline tries to get to grips with its costs and attempts to get itself on the path to profitability.
These probably won’t be the last significant route changes we see Norwegian make over the coming months as the airline runs the numbers across its network and identifies where the money is being made and where it’s being hemorrhaged.
Sadly, this means a period of uncertainty for Norwegian’s flyers and it makes it difficult to plan travel with Norwegian more than a few months in advance…and I suspect that this will be the next big challenge the airline will have to face – If flyers think that the airline may cancel the route they’re looking to book they’re going to book elsewhere.
The bottom line is that Norwegian needs to get its schedule and routes sorted out sooner rather than later or it may find that it doesn’t have any passengers to transport.