1,100 jobs lost at Gatwick Airport as Norwegian axes long haul flights

More than 1,000 jobs will be lost at Gatwick Airport as Norwegian scraps long haul flights.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 12:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 3:19 pm

Today, January 14, Norwegian announced it will focus on short haul flights as it said long haul flights are ‘not viable’ due to travel restrictions and Government advice amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for the firm confirmed at Gatwick around 1,100 long haul pilots and cabin crew for Norwegian will be affected. In total 2160 long haul pilots and crew will be affected globally as Norwegian also has bases in France, Italy, Spain and the US.

CEO Jacob Schram said: “It is with a heavy heart that we must accept that this will impact dedicated colleagues from across the company.

Gatwick South terminal SR2007066 SUS-200607-172332001

“I would like to thank each one of our affected colleagues for their tireless dedication and contribution to Norwegian over the years.

“Our short haul network has always been the backbone of Norwegian and will form the basis of a future resilient business model.”

The firm said its entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet has been grounded since last March with future demand remaining ‘highly uncertain’ for long haul travel.

Schram added: “Our focus is to rebuild a strong, profitable Norwegian so that we can safeguard as many jobs as possible. We do not expect customer demand in the long haul sector to recover in the near future, and our focus will be on developing our short haul network as we emerge from the reorganisation process.”

Customers with bookings affected by the future changes in our route network will be contacted directly and will be refunded, said Norwegian.

A spokesman added: “The examinership and reconstruction processes undertaken in Ireland and Norway will continue as planned, and the plan presented today is subject to approval by the examiner and reconstructor, support from the creditors and subsequently court approval.”

Aviation union Unite said the job losses were a ‘devastating blow’ for workers, the industry and the local community.

Regional officer Jamie Major said staff must be the ‘first priority’ for Norwegian. He added: “Unite is setting up emergency measures to fully support our members at this incredibly difficult time.”

A Gatwick spokeswoman said: “We are aware of Norwegian’s plans to concentrate on their European network going forward, and we expect Gatwick will remain an important part of their plans for this.

“We have an excellent relationship with Norwegian and their routes from Gatwick have always been popular.

“The demand for slots at Gatwick – both long and short-haul - remains very strong.

“We will continue to pursue new opportunities with Norwegian and other airlines to offer passengers a variety of choice for their 2021 future travel plans.”