Norwegian Records 96% Capacity Drop In November As It Looks To Christmas

European budget carrier Norwegian has released its November traffic data, and the figures continue to be dismal as travel restrictions continue to stifle the airline’s operations. Normally operating well over 100 aircraft, the airline reports having flown an average of 12 aircraft in the past month, mainly on domestic routes in Norway. Let’s take a closer look at the airline’s November data.

Norwegian 737
Travel restrictions are the primary factor in Norwegian’s low passenger traffic. Photo: Johan Wessman via Wikimedia Commons 

“Norwegian’s traffic figures for November are heavily influenced by lower demand caused by continued travel restrictions across Europe. Christmas bookings look promising.” -Norwegian

Less than 125,000 passengers in November

According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, Norwegian served just 124,481 customers during the month of November. This, the airline says, marks a decrease of 95% compared to the same period last year as November 2019 saw 2.28 million passengers.

To right-size its operations to this lower traffic, the carrier has had to cut its capacity and ground aircraft. This saw the capacity (ASK) in November down 96%, while total passenger traffic (RPK) decreased by 98 %. The load factor was 44.4 %, down from 83%.

“The pandemic continues to have a negative impact on our business as travel restrictions remain. The development of vaccines is great news for the airline industry, and we look forward to welcoming more customers on board as travel restrictions are lifted. Our goal is to be a financially strong and competitive airline, with a new financial structure, a rightsized fleet and improved customer offering.” -Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian

Norwegian operations route map
Norwegian’s destinations for the next week. Photo:

Bookings for summer program are increasing

Hopefully, the airline will see a more favorable environment ahead, both in the physical and economic sense. In fact, the airline notes that its summer program is now available and bookings are increasing as “people are slowly beginning to plan for their summer holidays.”

In the short-term, the airline has added 62 departures this Christmas, and for these, it says that “bookings look promising” as the airline looks forward to flying its customers home for Christmas.

Norwegian 737
Norwegian would normally be flying over 100 aircraft all over Europe. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr 

More flight cancelations and emissions per passenger

As might be expected during this time of low traffic, some flights had to be canceled. The company reports operating 72.7% of its scheduled flights in November, compared to an operational performance of 99.8% the same time last year. Of the flights that did end up flying, 94.8% departed on time.

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Norwegian 737
Emissions per passenger increased due to lower load factors. Photo: flyby via Wikimedia Commons 

These lower load factors unfortunately translated into more emissions per passenger. In November 2019, Norwegian reported 73 grams of CO2 per Revenue Passenger Kilometer (RPK). This is less than half of the emissions per passenger this November, with 156 grams of CO2 being emitted per RPK. Unfortunately, this is to be expected and is essentially unavoidable without downsizing aircraft size to adjust to demand.

Norwegian is currently struggling to survive. With its appeals for a government bailout declined, the airline has begun a reorganization process and has sought protection under Irish law from its creditors, with the airline saying in a statement:

“Seeking protection to reorganize under Irish law is a decision that we have taken to secure the future of Norwegian for the benefit of our employees, customers and investors. Our aim is to find solutions with our stakeholders that will allow us to emerge as a financially stronger and secure airline.”

Are you planning on flying with Norwegian this Christmas or sometime in 2021? Let us know in the comments.