Monday 28 September 2020 2:07 pm

Norwegian Air in talks over potential nationalisation

Norway’s government is considering taking a stake in Norwegian Air in a step that would see the embattled carrier temporarily nationalised.

The airline’s bosses have been meeting with government officials over the last week, the Telegraph first reported.

Read more: Norwegian Air says it needs more cash as losses mount

The meetings come after Norwegian’s chief executive said that the budget flier would need an additional injection of cash to see out the winter.

Back in March, the carrier received a £250m bailout from the government as the coronavirus pandemic forced global airlines to ground their planes.

But last month chief executive Jacob Schram said that the government loan guarantee “is not enough to get through this prolonged crisis”.

Political leaders in Oslo have suggested that they would rather bail out Norwegian than rival flier SAS, which is already part-owned by Sweden and Denmark.

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According to Jon Gunnes, transport policy spokesman for the Liberal Party, supporting the carrier is “very important”.

Industry sources confirmed that any majority stake taken by the government would only be temporary, as is the case with other European airlines such as Lufthansa.

Prior to the pandemic, Norwegian had grown swiftly to become one of the market’s biggest players, muscling in on the lucrative transatlantic market by offering long-haul flights at budget prices.

However, its rapid expansion had led to rapid growth in the size of its debt pile, a key area of concern for analysts.

Read more: Norwegian Air loss deepens after carrier clings on

the majority of its fleets could remain grounded until April 2021 depending on international travel advice. 

According to a plan shared before May’s crunch bailout vote, Norwegian is aiming to ramp up services towards a normal level in 2022.

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