Posted on: 10 April 2015 by Ross McSweeny
Norwegian has reported that its March traffic figures were strongly affected by the strike among the company’s Scandinavian pilots, which the airline said cost it NOK 350 million in additional costs and loss of revenue.
The strike also led to Norwegian, for the first time ever, having a decline in the number of passengers compared with the same month the previous year following the cancellation of almost 2,000 flights.
In March, 1,726,180 passengers flew with Norwegian, a decrease of 4% compared with March 2014’s figure. Flights unaffected by the strike, however, had a higher load factor than the same month last year. The load factor this year was 84.2% and contributed to a positive traffic growth (RPKs) of 7%. The total capacity (ASKs) fell by 1%.
Traffic in March was boosted by the early stages of Easter traffic (Easter was further into April last year). Negative effects from the pilot strike and less Easter traffic are also expected in April’s traffic figures this year. And although bookings have gradually picked up again, solid booking figures during spring will not compensate for loss of income during the strike.
“The strike among the Scandinavian pilots affected our company considerably and amounted to huge additional costs. Fortunately, we continue to attract many new customers in Europe and America, which offsets the fact that customers in Scandinavia were forced to fly with our competitors for a period of time. Had we not had such a large customer base outside of Scandinavia and so many hardworking employees, the situation would have been even more difficult,” commented CEO Bjørn Kjos.