Oslo-based Norwegian Air announced on Wednesday that it’s dropping its long-distance routes from Stockholm and Copenhagen to the US and Thailand. The move is part of the airline’s efforts to restore and sustain profitability.
The long-haul routes from both Sweden’s gateway airport Arlanda (ARN) and Denmark’s Kastrup (CPH) will be grounded after this year’s winter season, with the last flights from the two Scandinavian capitals taking off on March 29.
“We are continually evaluating our route network to make sure we’re meeting market demand,” Matthew Wood, Norwegian’s senior vice president for commercial operations, stated in a press release. “At the same time, we see that the long-distance market to and from Scandinavia is small compared to large cities (served by Norwegian) like New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome.”
Norwegian stressed that it’s adding new routes between several European and North American cities. Wood claimed, however, that Scandinavia “isn’t big enough” for Norwegian to maintain intercontinental flights from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Only the airline’s long-haul routes from Oslo will continue, with the exception of Norwegian’s flights from Oslo to Bangkok. It will be dropped next summer, but Norwegian is still evaluating its winter flights to both Bangkok and Krabi in Thailand.
“There’s more demand in Oslo than the other two Scandinavian capitals,” Norwegian spokesman Lasse Sandaker Nielsen told business news service E24, “and Norway is also our home market.” He noted that demand for domestic flights has fallen in Sweden, which coined the phrase fly skam (flight shame) because of climate concerns. He said international flight demand, however, remained “quite stable.’
Norwegian Air has also been hit hard over the past several years by trouble with the RollsRoyce engines on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets Norwegian ordered for its intercontinental routes. That has forced Norwegian Air to have too many aircraft on the ground, affecting the rest of its route program.
Extra capacity freed up by dropping the routes from Copenhagen and Stockholm will be used on Norwegian’s routes to North America from Spain and Great Britain, where Norwegian has hubs, and from Paris and Rome.