Gatwick: Norwegian axes 1,000 jobs at airport in long haul cuts

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Norwegian plane

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Budget airline Norwegian has axed its long-haul network, leading to the loss of 1,100 pilot and cabin crew jobs based at Gatwick Airport.

The carrier’s board of directors said it will continue to operate with a “simplified business structure”.

It comes, the board said, following the “profound” impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation industry.

The firm will now focus on its European short haul network, using smaller aircraft.

Norwegian shook up the UK’s long-haul aviation market in recent years by offering transatlantic flights at knockdown prices.

Some of its most popular deals included £99 trips to New York.

But its entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet has been grounded since March 2020.

In August 2020, the airline announced it needed financial support to get through the pandemic, after a loss of £442m for the first six months of the year.

A generic picture of Gatwick Airport

image copyrightPA Media

Chief executive Jacob Schram said: “By focusing our operation on a short-haul network, we aim to attract existing and new investors, serve our customers and support the wider infrastructure and travel industry.

“Our focus is to rebuild a strong, profitable Norwegian so that we can safeguard as many jobs as possible.”

About 2,160 jobs will be lost around the world – including at Gatwick – as the firm also has long-haul bases in France, Italy, Spain and the US.

Mr Schram added: “It is with a heavy heart that we must accept that this will impact dedicated colleagues from across the company.

“I would like to thank each one of our affected colleagues for their tireless dedication and contribution to Norwegian over the years.”

Customers with affected bookings will be contacted by the airline and refunded.

The firm has resumed talks with the Norwegian government about further state support.