The low-priced carrier that disrupted the trans-Atlantic market, Norwegian Air, is axing its long-haul operations and withdrawing to its home turf.
Norwegian is to end its trans-Atlantic and Asian long-haul network as part of its restructuring process resulting in over 1,000 job losses at Gatwick Airport.
Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said: "Our short haul network has always been the backbone of Norwegian and will form the basis of a future resilient business model".
The carrier said it will operate a "simplified business structure and dedicated short-haul route network" after being badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, Norwegian targets to reduce its debt significantly to around NOK20 billion and to raise NOK4-5 billion in new capital through a combination of a rights issue to current shareholders, a private placement and a "hybrid instrument". In response to the Covid pandemic, the group grounded its entire fleet of Boeing 787s in March a year ago and began returning airplanes to their lessors this month. The airline has said today that it is in talks with the government about possible aid, and will return to its roots as a short-haul European carrier.
Around 2,160 jobs will be lost around the world - including at Gatwick - as the firm also has longhaul bases in France, Italy, Spain and the US. Travel restrictions have slashed demand for long-haul travel, and most airlines' planes have been grounded since March 2020.
More than 2,100 jobs in total in the UK, France, Spain and the United States will be lost and Norwegian will offload its long-haul Boeing 787 Dreamliners reducing its fleet to 50 narrow-body aircraft.
"We do not expect customer demand in the long haul sector to recover in the near future, and our focus will be on developing our short-haul network as we emerge from the reorganisation process. I would like to thank each one of our affected colleagues for their tireless dedication and contribution to Norwegian over the years". According to the company press release the airline has received "concrete interest in the participation in the private placement".
Brian Strutton, Balpa general secretary, commented: "The airline has failed for several reasons but there can be no blame apportioned to the pilot, crew or other staff groups".
He added: "Aviation remains in serious crisis".
Customers with affected bookings will be contacted by the airline and refunded.