Skift Take

Norwegian's incredibly ambitious long-haul attempts will likely inspire competitors in the future. Whether or not it can reimagine itself as a regional carrier is still up in the air.

Norwegian Air now aims to raise up to 6 billion crowns ($711 million) in fresh capital before emerging from bankruptcy protection next month, more than the 4.5 billion originally planned, the company said on Wednesday.

“We want to take a conservative approach at a time when the pandemic and travel restrictions continue to create unpredictability in the travel sector,” Chief Executive Jacob Schram said in a statement.

Financed largely by debt, Norwegian Air grew rapidly, serving routes across Europe and flying to North and South America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East before the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the airline into crisis.

Courts in Oslo and Dublin have recently given their approval for Norwegian to sharply cut its debt by converting it to stock, but the rulings were conditional on Norwegian raising at least 4.5 billion crowns in additional funds.

The survival plan brings an end to Norwegian’s long-haul business, leaving a slimmed-down carrier focusing on Nordic and European routes, but the ongoing spread of the virus continues to hamper the industry.

“We must take this uncertainty into account in our forward planning strategy. At the same time, we have also taken into consideration feedback from investors, as well as dialogue with our board,” Schram said.

($1 = 8.4380 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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Tags: norwegian air

Photo credit: A premium cabin on a Norwegian Air plane. The airline is raising funds to help it reorganize. Norwegian Air

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