Norwegian Air filled more seats on its planes and earned higher revenues per customer in April while dealing with the grounding of its 18 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, it said, sending its shares up almost 3%.
The company said last month that the global grounding of 737 Max jets, which followed deadly crashes of airliners in Indonesia and Ethiopia, could scupper Norwegian’s plan to return to profitability this year.
So far, however, the carrier said it has managed to limit the impact from the grounding of around 11% of its fleet by combining flights and offering passengers alternative departures.
Norwegian’s load factor — the percentage of seats sold — rose to 86% from 83% a year earlier. Yield, a measure of revenue per passenger carried and kilometres flown, also rose.
Norwegian’s shares were up almost 3%.
Norwegian has curbed its rapid growth this year to focus on cutting costs and turning a profit. It also raised around €30m from shareholders to boost its balance sheet.
“I’m very pleased with the positive development in April, as well as the last two months as a whole; both in terms of passenger numbers, revenue and on-time performance,” said chief executive Bjorn Kjos.
We will continue to work on returning to profitability and, at the same time, offer our customers a high-quality product at a low fare.
It comes as some of Norwegian’s Cork and Shannon passengers rebooked from Dublin have found their flights are being moved days.
With the 737 Max fleet grounded, Cork and Shannon passengers are not able to fly to Providence, Rhode Island, on the US east coast for the foreseeable future, said the firm.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said: “It is very unfair on passengers who have had flights booked to now face further disruption when it comes to the rescheduling of flights.
“I know the airline is entitled to do this once they give notice but I would urge Norwegian to do all it can to ensure that they give as much notice to passengers as possible if they have to reschedule flights, so that the passengers can plan accordingly.”