Norwegian Air’s Irish subsidiary reports $445m loss

Europe’s third largest budget airline attributes jump in losses to cost of setting up new bases

Earlier this month Norwegian announced plans to hire an extra 40 pilots for its Dublin base as it adds more transatlantic flights

Rising costs associated with the launch of transatlantic flights from Ireland to the US led the Dublin-based arm of Scandinavian airline Norwegian Air to report a $445 million (€391m) loss in 2017. This is more than double the $205 million loss it recorded a year earlier.

However, Norwegian Air International, which attributed the increased losses primarily to new base set-up costs, said it expected the airline to fare better in the years ahead on the back of increased business.

Last year the group’s parent Norwegian Air Shuttle launched 54 new routes, a large number of which were between Ireland and the US as it introduced services from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast.

Europe’s third largest budget airline, the subject of a recent takeover proposal by Aer Lingus-owner IAG, reported ancillary revenue of $1.94 billion last year, as against $1.43 billion in 2016.


The parent, which injected $350 million into its Irish subsidiary over the period, posted a surprise net profit of 254 million Norwegian crowns ($31m) for the first six months of 2018 after losing 1.8 billion crowns in 2017.

Extra pilots

Earlier this month the airline announced plans to hire an extra 40 pilots for its Dublin base as it adds more transatlantic flights. Last year Norwegian said it had poached more than 140 pilots from Ryanair across Europe.

“Our Irish subsidiary made planned investments in 2017 to support our global expansion that included launching new transatlantic routes and setting up bases that created jobs to fulfil our long-term strategy of building a strong, sustainable and global business,” said a spokesman for Norwegian.

“We’ve reached the peak of our growth phase and we plan to build on the success of our transatlantic routes from Ireland by creating more jobs, introducing more flights and a new route to Canada that will benefit Irish consumers and the wider economy.”

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist