Losses at Norwegian Air Irish subsidiary top €170m

Airline likely to launch further long-haul services from Ireland and western Europe

Dublin-based Norwegian Air International lost $205 million (€172.5 million) in 2016, accounts show. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Dublin-based Norwegian Air International lost $205 million (€172.5 million) in 2016, accounts show. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Irish subsidiary lost more than €170 million on the sale of European flights last year, the latest figures show.

The Scandinavian group’s Irish arm, Norwegian Air International, began flying from Ireland to the northeastern United States in July.

Accounts just filed for the Dublin-based company show it lost $205 million (€172.5 million) in 2016, almost four times the $60 million shortfall recorded in 2015. Revenue more than doubled to $1.52 billion from $720 million.

The figures cover Norwegian’s flights within Europe in 2016, not revenue from routes launched from this country in July, which will be included in accounts published in 2018.

A spokesman said Norwegian Air International is likely to launch further long-haul services from Ireland and western Europe next year. “That is part of what we are finalising at the moment,” he explained.

“We are looking at the map to see where in western Europe we can fly from, the only limit on what we can do is how far our aircraft can fly.”

Norwegian established the Irish subsidiary in 2014 to offer cheap long-haul flights from Europe to the US and Asia. At the same time that it launched its Irish services in July it also began flying from Bergen in Norway to the US.

Pilot recruitment

Its spokesman added that its plan to hire 40 pilots for a new base in Dublin was part of this proposed expansion.

Norwegian sold about 90 per cent of the available seats on its flights from Belfast, Cork, Dublin and Shannon to Rhode Island and New York. The airline has begun selling flights on the same services for next summer.

The group’s leasing arm, Arctic Aviation Assets, is also based in the Republic. Figures for this business, which owns about half of Norwegian Air Shuttle’s aircraft, show it had $1.5 billion in assets at the end of last year.

Reports indicated that the group was considering selling Arctic Aviation to help ease a cash crunch resulting from its rapid expansion.

However, its spokesman said it had no “real intention” of selling the company, and would only consider this should it need to in the future. “We are financially stable and have strong liquidity,” he added.

The group is also continuing talks about a possible agreement with rival Ryanair on feeding passengers to each others’ networks.

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