The coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the airline industry into the fall travel season, and carriers are considering all options…
Norwegian Air Passenger Numbers Plunge 90% in July
Norwegian Air Shuttle announced traffic figures for July on Thursday. Last month, Norwegian carried a total of 356,093 passengers, 90% fewer than in the same period the previous year. The airline’s capacity was 560 million, representing a 94% steep dive when compared to July 2019.
The low-cost carrier resumed short-haul flights on July 1 with flights between London Gatwick to Oslo, London Gatwick to Copenhagen, Edinburgh to Oslo and Edinburgh to Copenhagen. Having operated only eight aircraft on domestic routes in Norway between April and July, Norwegian Air deployed 20 aircraft largely on domestic flights and a number of destinations in Europe in July. As the largest airline in Scandinavia, Norwegian’s fleet consists of around 160 aircraft including Boeing 737 aircraft and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
“The company announced its ramp-up in June and is gradually adjusting its production to meet customer demand. Although customer demand has increased compared to the almost non-existent levels in April, May and June, the market situation remains challenging. Norwegian will continue to evaluate demand, travel advice and infection control measures while adjusting its network accordingly,” said the airline in the statement.
Since July, Norwegian has operated 76 routes across Europe and 13 domestic routes from the airline’s Scandinavian hubs. Norwegian is slated to add further destinations to its flight schedule and increase frequency on some of its core destinations. However, the airline’s road to recovery might be hampered by the government of Norway.
Norwegian Government Tightens Foreign Travel Policy
While the Norwegian government opened the country’s border to selected European countries, travel restrictions for other countries are still in place. The state’s travel restrictions do not apply to Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the U.K.
However, Norway warns that this should not be taken as an endorsement of travel to these countries as restrictions might be reintroduced if the level of infection in a country rises above a certain threshold.
The Norwegian state has recently proved its commitment to travel restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs removed the Czech Republic, France, Monaco and Switzerland from the list of green countries and advised against non-essential travel to these countries. As of Aug. 8, passengers arriving in Norway from these four European countries will be required to go into quarantine for 10 days.
“Developments in several European countries are unfortunately not going in the right direction. This week, France, Monaco, Switzerland and the Czech Republic have crossed the border, which has been set at 20 new covid19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days. As a result of the reintroduction of quarantine obligations for these countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also change its travel advice,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide.
The ministry also recommended avoiding unnecessary travel to all countries including the ones that are considered safe.
“Increased travel activity has led to increased infection in Norway. We do not recommend unnecessary travel abroad. This means that we will also not allow travel from countries outside European Union immediately, said Minister of Health Bent Hoie.
The Minister of Health says that the risk of getting infected increases regardless of which country you travel to as many countries have greater infection rates than Norway.
“We want Norwegians who would like to take a weekend trip to, for example, a safe country to think about and ask themselves the question: Is this a necessary trip? If the answer to that is no, then one should refrain from traveling,” Hoie said.
The Scandinavian country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also continuing its global advice against all non-essential travel to all countries.
Norway and some other European countries are slowly beginning to tighten restrictions due to dramatic coronavirus case surges, which will seriously cripple Norwegian Air’s strategy.
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