Norway’s Avinor struggles to regain passengers and experiences continuing financial difficulties

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The Norwegian state airport operator Avinor, one of the largest in the world as measured by revenues, handles airports that range from tiny coastal ones to international facilities, such as at Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was considerable, and almost four years after it started its lingering effects, together with the current global economic malaise and international tensions, mean that the airport organisation is still 10% down on 2019 passenger traffic levels, and revenues are only creeping back up.

A full recovery is not now expected until 2027/28. This has prompted the Norwegian government to investigate what measures it can take to secure the smaller airports, which are a lifeline for many communities. Meanwhile, Avinor's investment intentions will be streamlined.

Both Avinor and the government will be judged on what happens to two new airport projects, at Mo I Rana and Bodø, where there have already been delays. The existing Bodø airport has been a test bed for remote tower air traffic control technology, at which Norway is a leader and has had the insight to export.

Nothing in the government's proclamations so far suggests that any form of privatisation can be a solution, or that the government itself will take on any of Avinor's functions, except perhaps cost control.

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