Norwegian airline sued in Dublin by inflight caterer

Norwegian Air International has been hit with two High Court debt summary judgment applications by Newrest

Norwegian employs about 80 administrative staff in Ireland. Photograph: Reuters

Norwegian employs about 80 administrative staff in Ireland. Photograph: Reuters

 

An Irish-based unit of Norwegian airline is being sued in the courts here by its inflight caterer over the alleged non-payment of debt.

Norwegian Air International, a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, has been hit in recent weeks with two High Court debt summary judgment applications by Newrest, a global provider of food and beverage services to airlines.

Newrest France was the first to file an action against Norwegian, launching its suit on June 17th. Newrest France signed up Norwegian as a client in 2016, catering initially for its long-haul routes from Paris to New York, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

The caterer’s parent company, Newrest Group Holding, has since joined the fray, filing a separate action against Norwegian Air International on July 1st.

A High Court summary judgment debt application is considered an aggressive legal move, in which the plaintiff essentially seeks an immediate ruling from a judge without a trial or hearing, and on the basis of paper submissions only.

The tactic is often used by companies to seek payment under contracts. If a respondent disputes the claim the case will generally go before the court for a hearing. Ultimately, an unpaid summary judgment, if one is awarded, can eventually enable a plaintiff to seek a winding-up petition.

Norwegian has yet to submit a defence to either debt case by Newrest, and may yet choose to dispute its claims. It had not responded to a request for comment prior to publication.

The airline industry has been financially devastated in recent months, and Norwegian, which was already struggling under a huge debt load prior to the pandemic, received a roughly €250 million Norwegian state bailout in May.

The Irish unit at the centre of the claims had chalked up losses by the end of 2018, the latest year for which accounts are filed, of €879 million.

Norwegian employs about 80 administrative staff in Ireland. The airline ceased transatlantic services from here last August, but was still flying several low-cost European routes from Dublin before the pandemic hit.