Norwegian has returned three pairs of Heathrow slots which it had been awarded for this summer, stating that they “do not fit into our network plan at this current time”.
In December Business Traveller reported that the low-cost carrier had been awarded six (three pairs) of Heathrow slots, out of 14 which it had applied for, for use between March 29 and October 24, 2020.
We approached Norwegian at the time, and were told by the airline that “We continuously adjust our network in response to demand and we will announce any further changes as and when it is appropriate to do so”.
However we can now confirm that Norwegian will not be taking up the slot, and has returned them to the airport. In a statement provided to Business Traveller the carrier said:
“We would like to thank both Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) and Heathrow for granting Norwegian three slots for the Summer 2020 schedule.
“After careful consideration, which took into account the current fleet pressures placed on the airline by well documented issues with a specific Rolls Royce Trent engine type and the continued grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, we have decided to return the slots as they do not fit into our network plan at this current time.
“As the airline moves from a strategy of growth to profitability we look forward to having future discussions with ACL and Heathrow.”
In recent months Norwegian has been implementing a “strategy of moving from growth to profitability” – in October the carrier announced frequency increases on routes from Gatwick to the four “key US destinations” of San Francisco, Austin, Denver and Tampa from March 29, 2020, although the move will also see it reduce frequencies on transatlantic routes to Buenos Aires, Orlando, Miami and Rio from the same date.
And late last year the carrier also confirmed plans to end end all of its long-haul flights from Sweden and Denmark – also from March 29, 2020, citing “overall demand and commercial viability”.