New airline lands in bankruptcy

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The heir to an ice cream fortune in southern Norway saw his dream of running a full-service airline melt away this week, after his start-up carrier Fly Nonstop filed for bankruptcy. Its offices in Kristiansand closed to the public and the airline’s lone aircraft was grounded.

Espen Hennig-Olsen's new airline will fly non-stop, and uses the name of the candy "Non-Stops" found in Hennig-Olsen ice cream. PHOTO: Fly Nonstop

Espen Hennig-Olsen’s now-bankrupt airline used the name of the candy “Non-Stops” found in Hennig-Olsen ice cream. PHOTO: Fly Nonstop

“This is a sad day for the region and for Fly Nonstop,” Espen Hennig-Olsen told state broadcaster NRK.

Hennig-Olsen, from the family behind the Hennig-Olsen ice cream brand, invested much of his inheritance in the airline, which started up during the past year with a single Embrær 190 aircraft that could carry around 100 passengers. Fly Nonstop was based at the Kjevik airport in Kristiansand and started flying to eight European cities including Paris, Berlin, London, Stockholm and Parma.

The venture barely got off the ground, though, before the routes to Berlin and Paris were cut along with one of the airline’s routes to Parma. The Stockholm route was also dropped because of lack of interest.

Hennig-Olsen had thought there’d be demand for new non-stop routes to European destinations from Kristiansand as well as routes like one between Bodø and London. It was difficult, however, to offer round-trip schedules with just one aircraft that moved around the airline’s various destinations. Passenger bookings remained low, despite the introduction of discounted airfares this fall.

NRK reported that the airline posted a loss of NOK 2.5 million last year, and debts by the end of last year amount to NOK 26.2 million. Airline officials were mum about details of the bankruptcy on Tuesday.

They did announce that passengers holding tickets must contact their credit card companies or banks with their ticket reference numbers and receipts to apply for refunds. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) was reportedly helping Fly Nonstop passengers by offering them tickets at a “special price” on a space available basis.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund