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Norwegian Air will cancel 85% of its flights and temporarily lay off 7,300 employees amid the growing coronavirus crisis that has halted demand for air travel, the carrier said on Monday.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday extended his recent clampdown on European travel to also include Britain, Norwegian’s biggest destination for transatlantic flights, while other nations also severely limited air traffic.
The company employs close to 11,000 people, according to its website.
“What our industry is now facing is unprecedented and critical as we are approaching a scenario where most of our airplanes will be temporarily grounded,” the company said in a statement.
The Oslo-listed carrier has called on authorities in Norway, Britain and elsewhere to help, and said on Friday it needed access to cash “within weeks, not months”.
A pioneer in transatlantic budget travel since 2013, Norwegian quickly became the largest foreign airline serving the New York region and a major player at other U.S. airports.
Scandinavian airline SAS on Sunday said it would halt most traffic and temporarily lay off up to 10,000 employees, or 90% of the workforce.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)