Norwegian puts Latvia expansion plans on hold

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Airline company Norwegian (formerly known as Norwegian Air) has decided to suspend its plan to establish a base at Rīga International Airport until the summer season of 2024, the airline confirmed to Latvian Television May 20.

"We had big plans for this season, and one of them was to open a base in Riga, but due to the delays in the delivery of new aircraft, the opening of the base is currently postponed until next year," said Grete Roald, senior vice president of Corporate Communications of the airline, revealed in a conversation with Latvian Television. 

The Latvian market remains interesting for the airline, as evidenced by the increase in demand for existing flights.  

"We see that the Latvian market is showing a good pace of recovery and demand is growing. This market is very important and engaging for us. For example, in April we were the third largest airline at Riga Airport", said Roalda. 

Along with the decision to postpone the opening of the base and delays in aircraft deliveries, it is expected that the number of flights to Norway (from seven flights per week to five), Denmark (from five flights per week to two) will be reduced in the winter season. Flights to Sweden will be canceled completely, according to the company's strategy for the autumn-winter season, though this decision may be revisited.

The total reduction of flights per week from Rīga will be from 21 to 7 flights.

The airline currently operates flights to Europe from three bases located in Copenhagen, Denmark, Stockholm, Sweden, and Oslo, Norway. 

For the first quarter of 2023, Norwegian reported an operating loss (EBIT) of NOK 916 million (77 million euros). Losses before tax (EBT) amounted to NOK 992 million (83 million euros).

At quarter-end, Norwegian's operational fleet comprised 72 aircraft. In the first quarter of 2023, Norwegian had 3.8 million passengers, up from 2.2 million in the first quarter of 2022.

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