Copenhagen, May 26 (EFE) .- The low-cost airline Norwegian ended on Wednesday the double process of financial reconstruction started six months ago, which has allowed it to renegotiate and reduce its debt with creditors and raise new capital to refloat the company and avoid the threat of bankruptcy.
Norwegian has managed to attract 6,000 million Norwegian crowns (589.2 million euros) in capital and has reduced its debt from the 80,000 million (7,856 million euros) that it owed at the end of 2019 to between 16,000 and 18,000 million (1,571 and 1,768 million euros), the company reported in a statement to the Oslo Stock Exchange.
The company had notified several months ago that it was abandoning the commitment to long-haul flights to focus on internal routes in Norway and between the Nordic countries and the main European destinations, planning to operate with about 50 aircraft this year, a third of which it had before the crisis caused by the pandemic.
“Today we have written history, not only of Norwegian and aviation, but of Norway,” said the company’s CEO, Jacob Schram, at a press conference.
Norwegian CFO Geir Karlsen stressed in the same appearance that the last six months have been an “intense” period and that he has had to negotiate with thousands of creditors and between 30 and 40 banks.
The airline had been going through a difficult financial situation for years, aggravated in 2019 by the temporary flight ban of the Boeing 737 MAXs and problems with the Rolls Royce engines, and exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.
Norwegian already received aid from the Norwegian State for 3,000 million (295 million euros) a year ago and obtained the support of creditors and shareholders for a rescue plan, but had to end up requesting protection from the courts to start a process of reconstruction and thus avoid bankruptcy.
The process, which allowed it to access another state loan of 1,500 million (147 million euros), also marked the end of the expansion of Norwegian, which became the third low-cost airline in Europe and had opted for intercontinental routes .
In its last fiscal year, Norwegian posted a net loss in 2020 of 23,040 million kronor (2,249 million euros) due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, thirteen times more than the previous year.
(c) EFE Agency