Cheap New York flights prompt Swedish frenzy

Budget carrier Norwegian announced flights between Stockholm and New York City for under 1,000 kronor ($150) on Thursday, prompting a massive spike in demand which proved too much for the airline's website.

Cheap New York flights prompt Swedish frenzy
Photo: Norwegian

“Dear customer, due to extreme demand, we are closing our website for a short time in order to increase capacity and stability,” the airline said in a statement on Thursday.

Norwegian announced earlier on Thursday that it was extending its budget service to longer haul destinations.

New York City has been launched as the first destination, with flights commencing from Stockholm’s Arlanda in May 2013, followed by Bangkok in June.

Tickets to JFK airport in New York could be had for a paltry 1,199 kronor, with the return journey costing 964 kronor, including taxes and fuel surcharges.

“Today’s launch is a major and important milestone in Norwegian’s history,” the company’s CEO Bjørn Kjos said in a statement on Thursday morning.

The company promises to adapt its no-frills service to offer customers “that little extra” to provide more comfort on the longer haul routes.

Norwegian’s website was back up and running by 4pm on Thursday afternoon, but at first glance there appeared only a handful of the cut-price tickets still available.

The routes will be plied by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the first of which will be delivered to the airline in April 2013.

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Norwegian’s subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden go bankrupt

The struggling low-cost airline Norwegian has reported its staffing subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden have filed for bankruptcy, meaning roughly three quarters of its pilots and crew will lose their jobs.

Norwegian's subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden go bankrupt
A Norwegian Air Shuttle plane: Photo: Norwegian

In a press release issued on Monday afternoon, the airline said that the financial support packages offered by the Swedish and Danish government had not been sufficiently generous to keep the subsidiaries which employ pilots and cabin crew in the two countries solvent. 

”The impact the Coronavirus has had on the airline industry is unprecedented. We have done everything we can to avoid making this last-resort decision and we have asked for access to government support in both Sweden and Denmark”, said Norwegian's chief executive Jacob Schram in the statement.  

“Our pilots and cabin crew are the core of our business and they have done a fantastic job for many years.”

“It is heart-breaking that our Swedish and Danish pilot and cabin crew subsidiaries now are forced to file for bankruptcy, and I’m truly sorry for the consequences this will have for our colleagues,”  Norwegian's chief executive Jacob Schram said in the statement.  

“We are working around the clock to get through this crisis and to return as a stronger Norwegian with the goal of bringing as many colleagues back in the air as possible.”

The company said it was also immediately ending staffing deals with the OSM Aviation, which supplies it with crew based in Spain, UK, Finland, Sweden and the US.

The company said that 1,571 pilots and 3,134 cabin crew would be affected by the move, with only the 700 pilots and 1,300 cabin crew based in Norway, France and Italy being kept on.

In the release, the company blamed the “the lack of significant financial support” from the Swedish and Danish governments, which it contrasted with that of Norway, which has agreed to pay “all salary related costs” while staff are furloughed. 

The companies declared bankrupt include: 
Norwegian Pilot Services Sweden AB
Norwegian Pilot Services Denmark ApS
Norwegian Cabin Services Denmark ApS
Norwegian Air Resources Denmark LH ApS