Norwegian's US-based cabin crew delivered (18-Feb-2015) letters to the Obama administration, calling for the "swift approval" of Norwegian Air International's application for a foreign air carrier permit. Norwegian Fort Lauderdale base chief Joseph Gabriel said: "Norwegian has made a strong commitment to the US economy and given 300 American Flight Attendants jobs. Norwegian is a future-oriented airline that is not only creating jobs within the airline, but also within the entire tourism industry by bringing several hundred thousand tourists to the US every year. It’s about time that NAI is approved so that Norwegian can continue to offer the American traveller non-stop transatlantic destinations at lower and more competitive fares." [more - original PR]
Norwegian's US-based cabin crew call for 'swift approval' of NAI application
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Norwegian Air: longhaul-led capacity acceleration & rising fuel price may expose margin fragility
Norwegian's long haul operation has become its main growth engine. Although long haul still accounts for fewer ASKs than its short haul network, it will contribute more than half of Norwegian's incremental ASKs in 2017. Since the airline's long haul launch in 2013, Norwegian's widebody flights have enjoyed higher load factors than their short haul counterparts, and the company has broken new ground with its multi base long haul strategy outside its home market.
After Norwegian entered long haul it met a sudden drop in profitability, suffering losses in 2014. Its results have recovered since then, leading to its highest ever net profit and operating profit in absolute terms in 2016. At first sight this might indicate that Norwegian's long haul has healed its growing pains, and is maturing into more sustainable profitability.
However, there is evidence that Norwegian's profit recovery may have had more to do with lower fuel prices, helped also by tighter capacity growth in 2015. Moreover, its 2016 operating margin was below its own historic peak. With Norwegian facing rising fuel prices and accelerating its capacity growth in 2017, the robustness of its margin recovery will be tested this year.
Norwegian Air's NAI at last gets final approval of US rights in a boost to long haul growth
On 2-Dec-2016 the US Department of Transportation (DoT) served an order granting Norwegian Air International (NAI) a foreign air carrier permit, as required by the EU-US open skies agreement, to which Norway is a party. Almost three years after NAI's application it seems that the EU's 30-Nov-2016 filing for arbitration finally panicked the DoT into finalising its tentative approval given eight months ago.
Since launching long haul operations in summer 2013 Norwegian has grown its long haul network to 37 routes operated in 2016. In spite of the delay in receiving the US permit for NAI, 34 of these routes are between cities in Europe and the US. The only Asian destination is Bangkok, linked to the three Scandinavian capitals.
The DoT's final decision means Norwegian can now use its Irish-registered subsidiary NAI to fly long haul routes from Europe to destinations both east and west with the same operating airline, and with EU traffic rights in both directions. This should increase its operational flexibility and cost efficiency and allow lower fares on a greater number of routes. Norwegian already has ambitious long haul growth plans. Expect these now to accelerate further, and not only to the US.