Home Aviation Norwegian Air soars in local passenger traffic while reporting first-quarter loss

Norwegian Air soars in local passenger traffic while reporting first-quarter loss

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Ground crew unload luggage from the first Norwegian Air flight to touch down at Stewart International Airport in June 2017. Photo by Bob Rozycki

Norwegian Air, which promotes itself as the world’s fifth-largest low-cost airline, was responsible for almost half of the passenger traffic at Stewart International Airport during the 12 months which ended Feb. 28, according to statistics from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

At the same time, the Port Authority’s numbers showed that Norwegian Air became the number one foreign airline by passenger count serving the New York City region during that same 12-month period.

Norwegian Air flew past Lufthansa, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates and previous market leader Air Canada by carrying 2,078,847 passengers through the Port Authority’s airports during those 12 months.

At Stewart, Norwegian carried 325,359 passengers and was the only airline providing international service there. Passenger traffic for the other carriers at Stewart was as follows: JetBlue Airways, 117,566; Allegiant Air, 112,319; American Airlines, 77,567; and Delta, 54,862.

At the same time, however, the airline reported a first-quarter operating loss of $172 million on sales of approximately $1.2 billion. The sales were up about 14% from the first quarter of 2018. The airline has a cost-cutting program in place, which includes sale of some aircraft. The airline flew with an average of 81% of its seats full during the first quarter.

“Competition is at an all-time high and our business model of low fares and new planes is unmatched and attracting new travelers every day,” said Norwegian Air’s CEO and founder Bjorn Kjos.

The airline was forced to make changes in its schedules when the worldwide fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets was grounded in the wake of two fatal crashes. Norwegian operates 18 MAX 8 aircraft. MAX 8 aircraft had been a key element in the airline’s Stewart operations. “We have had some productive meetings with Boeing where we have discussed how we can maneuver through the difficulties the MAX situation is causing Norwegian,” Kjos said.

The airline’s website shows that it offers daily service from Stewart to Dublin, three flights a week to and from Copenhagen, four trips a week between Stewart and Toronto, four to Oslo in Norway, and two weekly flights each way between Stewart and Stockholm, Sweden.

Norwegian began service between Europe and the U.S. in May 2013 with nonstop routes between Oslo and Stockholm. It currently offers 11 nonstop routes to Europe from Kennedy, Newark Liberty International Airport and Stewart. More than 4.6 million passengers flew on Norwegian from the New York airports from 2013 to 2018. Its U.S. network continues to expand and includes operations at airports such as Miami International, San Francisco International, Los Angeles International, Orlando, Tampa, and Boston’s Logan Airport.

Worldwide, it carried more than 37 million passengers in 2018 on more than 500 routes to more than 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean, North and South America. It plans to add new routes this summer including New York to Athens, Chicago to Barcelona, and Boston to Rome and Madrid.

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