Norwegian Air has announced that due to the coronavirus outbreak, and in order to cut costs, it would relieve about half of its staff of their duties.
The Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Jacob Schram confirmed the temporary layoff in a statement.
The airline’s announcement comes amid falling demand for air travel, due to increasing travel restrictions and worried travellers opting to stay at home.
According to Schram, the travel ban placed on Europe by the US President, Donald Trump had put pressure on the airline’s business.
“Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the coronavirus… we must look at all possible measures to reduce costs. This unfortunately also includes temporary lay-offs of up to 50% of our employees and the number may increase,” the company stated.
Apart from the temporary layoffs, the company also said it was cancelling more than 4,000 flights, including 3,000 already announced on Tuesday.
Details: Norwegian said that about 40% of its long-haul fleet would be grounded as it was cancelling the majority of flights from European airports to the US.
The company said it would continue to operate flights between London and the US, and hoped to re-route as many of its passengers as possible.
Giving information to the Norway Government, Schram said, “We urge international governments to act now to ensure that the aviation industry can protect jobs and continue to be a vital part of the global economic recovery.”
What you should know: Norwegian, which has been in deficit for three years and is heavily indebted due to an ambitious expansion policy, especially in long-haul flights, has been plummeting on the Oslo Stock Exchange. On Thursday, after the announcement by the US President, the company’s shares fell by 22%. The stock has fallen by over 80% in the last month.