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Norwegian boss ‘not at all satisfied’ with airline’s losses

The airline lost 919 million kroner (£84 million) between October and December.

The boss of low-cost airline Norwegian has said he is “not at all satisfied” with its latest financial results.

But chief executive Bjorn Kjos insisted the carrier is “far better positioned for 2018” as it continues to rapidly expand its fleet and routes.

The company lost 919 million kroner (£84 million) between October and December, contributing to an overall loss for the 2017 calendar year of 299 million kroner (£27 million).

It said it made “major investments” in the fourth quarter of 2017 related to training of pilots and cabin crew.

To be a low cost carrier in Europe you need a network. You need size. Bjorn Kjos

Some 32 new aircraft entered Norwegian’s fleet last year, with passenger numbers up 13% year-on-year to 33 million.

Mr Kjos said: “We are not at all satisfied with the 2017 results.

“However, the year was also characterised by global expansion driven by new routes, high load factors and continued fleet renewal.

“Norwegian is far better positioned for 2018, with stronger bookings, a growing network of intercontinental routes complementing our vast European network and, not least, a better staffing situation.”

There have been suggestions within the airline industry that Norwegian’s expansion is unsustainable.

Even the carrier’s own UK head of sales, Dominic Tucker, has admitted that it is “on the cusp” of growing too fast.

Norwegian Air

But Mr Kjos insists growth is vital to succeed.

In an interview with the Press Association, he said: “To be a low cost carrier in Europe you need a network. You need size.

“By the end of this year we will have more than 30 long haul aircraft.

“We’re just starting to get an OK size. You cannot fly a long-haul operation with five.”

Earlier this week Mr Kjos declared that the UK will be a “springboard” for Norwegian’s global expansion despite Brexit.

He pledged that UK passengers will be the first to experience the carrier’s new routes and cabin upgrades.

He revealed plans to increase the frequency of key routes from London Gatwick to give business customers more flexibility.

Norwegian began flying between Gatwick and Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

The service marks a significant milestone for the airline as it goes head to head with British Airways, which previously had a monopoly on flights between London and the Argentine capital.

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