Airlines can fill all their seats again

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Transport Minister Knut Arild Hareide confirmed Thursday afternoon that Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), Norwegian Air and Widerøe are now once again able to sell tickets for all the seats on their aircraft. That will double current capacity, and cut airfares that have become very high.

Domestic airline Widerøe serves lots of small airports with short runways in Norway, along with several Norwegian cities. It’s looking forward to being able to sell more seats. PHOTO: Widerøe

“We won’t have much time to sell the extra seats,” Silje Brandvoll of Widerøe told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “That means there will be more reasonable airline tickets for those wanting to go on holiday in Norway.”

The airlines have been ordered to keep middle seats open, to increase space between passengers. Health officials have claimed, however, that improved ventilation on board has reduced the risk of virus infection, while most airlines now require all passengers to wear face masks while on board and standing in lines.

The government’s decision to ease restrictions is also good news for the airlines including SAS and Norwegian Air that have been struggling since the Corona virus forced them to ground most all aircraft. More people will now likely be more willing and able to fly again, without paying high airfares that are based on supply and demand.

NRK reported that the lowest available fare currently advertised for a round-trip  between Oslo and Bodø is NOK 26,686 (USD 2,869) for two adults and two children flying next week. A round trip for the same family to Svolvær in scenic Lofoten is nearly NOK 35,000, while even just flying between Oslo and Bergen currently costs around NOK 12,000 for a family of four.

That’s why Norwegians unable to travel abroad and facing holidays at home in Norway are most likely to head for their holiday homes by car, take car trips, go camping or spend time on their boats.

“Everyone is talking about upcoming Norwegian holidays, but hardly anyone will pay nearly NOK 30,000 to go to Bodø,” airline analyst Frode Steen, who’s also an economics professor at business school NHH (Norges Handelshøyskole),  told NRK. “I think the E6 highway will be very full of cars this summer.”

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund