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Norwegian Air brings back more crew, aircraft as demand rises after lockdown
[OSLO] Norwegian Air will resume flights on 76 routes halted during the coronavirus outbreak and bring back into service 12 of its mothballed aircraft on top of the eight already flying, as European countries reopen and demand for flights rises.
Airlines have been hit hard by the pandemic, which has put a stop to most international travel, leading companies to seek help from governments.
"We're getting back in the air with more planes and we're reopening many of the routes which our customers have requested," chief executive Jacob Schram said in a statement.
More than 300 pilots and 600 cabin crew from the company's bases in Norway will operate 20 aircraft, with about 200 pilots and 400 cabin crew being brought back from layoffs, the budget carrier said.
Norwegian furloughed or laid off about 7,300 staff, roughly 90 per cent of its employees, after the Covid-19 outbreak.
On Tuesday Norwegian said it would resume flights outside Norway, announcing a single domestic route in Denmark, while Nordic rival SAS also announced an expansion of service.
Norwegian completed a financial restructuring last month, handing control of the firm to its creditors, saying at the time it could wait until 2021 before resuming flights beyond Norway's borders.
"The reopening of flights is the result of recent increased demand from customers and is also in line with other airlines across Europe that are also resuming flights," Norwegian said.
The airline, which brought Europe's low-cost business model to the transatlantic market, has said it plans to reinvent itself in a scaled-down version with 110-120 aircraft, compared with almost 150 before the pandemic.