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Norwegian Air struggles to fill planes as fleet grows

[OSLO] Budget carrier Norwegian Air struggled to fill its aircraft in November as capacity growth far outpaced demand, its monthly traffic report showed, sending its shares down 6 percent in early trade.

The company, which has been courted by British Airways owner IAG, has ramped up its transatlantic business but has also said that growth will slow as it prioritises profitability over expansion.

"Several of our summer routes have been extended into November, which has affected the load factor," Chief Executive Bjoern Kjos said in a statement.

"A full transition into the winter programme will take place early next year, once the busy holiday season is behind us."

While the airline's capacity grew 34 per cent year-on-year in November, revenue-generating passenger kilometres increased by 26 per cent, lagging a forecast of 33.7 per cent in a Reuters poll of analysts.

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The load factor, a measure of how many seats are sold on each flight, fell to 78.8 per cent for the month, the lowest since May 2014. That fell short of a forecast of 82.7 per cent and was down from 83.7 per cent a year ago.

"Overall, we find the traffic figures to be soft," Danske Bank analyst Martin Stenshall said in a note to clients.


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