It was a turbulent day on the Oslo Stock Exchange for Norwegian Air on Wednesday, after the airline announced that it expects to post a huge loss for the first quarter. Norwegian Air’s share price fell by more than 5 percent, just after it had raised another NOK 1.3 billion in capital.
“Growth has a price,” airline analyst Hans Jørgen Elnæs told state broadcaster NRK after Norwegian Air prepared investors for a first-quarter loss of NOK 2.6 billion (USD 337 million). The airline blamed higher fuel costs and a stronger euro against the Norwegian krone.
The airline also said it planned to sell as many as five of its Airbus 320 aircraft that have been leased out to low-bare carrier HK Express. Norwegian Air’s founder Bjørn Kjos, who just ceremoniously launched new routes to Argentina in the presence of Queen Sonja in Buenos Aires, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that interest in the aircraft was “enormous.”
Norwegian has grown from being a low-fare domestic carrier less than 20 years ago to expanding first with a large route system in Europe and later rolling out intercontinental routes. It’s had lots of growing pains but Elnæs said he thinks this year is “the last big expansion year.” He predicts growth will taper off in 2019, giving the airline more opportunities to capitalize, “as long as it has the market with it.”