Norwegian Begins Returning Aircraft To Lessors

Norwegian has started to transport aircraft to Shannon Airport in Ireland as part of its restructuring procedure. The carrier is preparing to return these planes to lessors that supply most units in the Scandinavian outfit’s fleet.

Norwegian Boeing 787
Norwegian is approximately €4 billion ($4.93 billion) in debt. Photo: Norwegian

Troubles piling up

Norwegian was already facing considerable financial woes before the global health crisis. However, the implications of the pandemic have forced even more drastic measures to be taken.

In November, the carrier shared that it chose to go through this process in Ireland as its planes and assets are held in the country. Ultimately, this move is in the interest of the firm’s stakeholders.

However, it’s not only in Ireland where Norwegian is going through a shakeup. Last month, the low-cost carrier filed for reorganization under Norwegian law. This procedure will run alongside the Irish Examinership process.

Norwegian selling two 787s to Neos Air
Norwegian is also entering into a supplementary Norwegian reconstruction process. Photo: Getty Images

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Still fighting

Despite the significant actions, the airline shared that it will continue to serve its active routes and trade as normal on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Altogether, it feels that protecting as many employees while rightsizing is a top priority for leadership during these challenging conditions.

“A supplementary reconstruction process under Norwegian law will be to the benefit of all parties and will increase the likelihood of a successful result. Our aim is to secure jobs in the company and to contribute to securing critical infrastructure and value creation in Norway,” Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram said in a statement.

“We will now concentrate on working towards our goal of reducing company debt, reducing the size of our aircraft fleet, and ensuring that we are a company that investors will find attractive. We will be ready to meet the competition for customers after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

norwegian 737
Norwegian currently has a fleet mix of Boeing 737 and 787 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Part of the process

So, amid these processes, Norwegian is cutting down the amount of aircraft it operates. The planes being transported to Shannon are primarily Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Two units recently went through maintenance and were repainted. The widebodies were then taken on by Italian airline Neos for leasing.

Meanwhile, other units are going to various lessors across the globe. Shannon is no stranger to holding onto aircraft before lessors take them on. The site hosts maintenance and preparations during this transition. Nonetheless, it’s not only here where Norwegian is storing its planes. The operator’s aircraft can be spotted at Ciudad Real Airport in Spain.

Only a small fraction of long-haul planes are being shifted to Shannon and not all are part of the examinership process. The businesses registered in Ireland going through the procedure hold 72 units of the airline’s total aircraft, which The Irish Times lists as being a 140-strong fleet.

Now, Norwegian is due to produce a business plan this month. The total number of planes being cut is to be confirmed. However, the case is due back before the Irish High Court on January 22nd. The airline will undoubtedly be busy preparing for this date.

What are your thoughts about Norwegian’s process of returning its aircraft to lessors? What do you make of the airline’s plans this year? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.