Norwegian Blames UK Air Traffic Control And Italian Strikes For September Cancelations

Norwegian is happy that it had a good month in September when it carried 8% more passengers compared to the same period last year. However, its stats could have been slightly better as the airline points out that it had to face some cancelations due to situations in London Gatwick Airport and Italy.

Few cancelations

Earlier this month, Norwegian Air Shuttle announced that it concluded the month of September by carrying more than two million passengers. Even as it provided positive figures for the month, it did mention the flight cancelations in London Gatwick and Italy. The statement read,

“The majority of the few flights that Norwegian didn’t operate were due to ATC issues at London Gatwick Airport and national strikes in Italy.”

Indeed, thousands of passengers saw their flights getting delayed or canceled in the middle of September as Gatwick Airport grappled with a shortage of air traffic controllers. The airport said the disruption was caused due to a short-notice staff absence in the air traffic control tower.

Even as the airport has increased its workforce by 17% since last summer, some of these issues have lingered on. When several of its staff members took leave on short notice on September 14th, more than half of its operations were impacted, with Norwegian as one of the affected airlines.

In September, Italy also faced national strikes by airline and airport personnel, disrupting flights. Again, Norwegian was one of the carriers that had to cancel or delay flights, causing some inconvenience to its passengers.

Overall, a good month

Despite the disruptions mentioned above, Norwegian was satisfied with its overall performance in September. The airline said,

“September was yet another good month for Norwegian … Norwegian had 2,030,052 passengers in September, up 8 per cent from September 2022. The capacity (ASK) was 3,208 million seat kilometres, while actual passenger traffic (RPK) was 2,696 million seat kilometres. In September, Norwegian operated an average of 80 aircraft with a regularity, share of scheduled flights taking place, of 99.7 percent.”

Norwegian noted that its punctuality last month was 84.6% and that it already has its eyes set on the winter season. The carrier wants to adjust its strategy, keeping in mind the travel patterns in the quieter winter months and foresees continued demand for destinations in Southern Europe. Newer trends of people taking city breaks in Eastern Europe, in particular, is also something it is aware of.

Growing reach

The largest airline in Norway and one of Europe’s leading low-cost airlines, Norwegian has already released tickets for the summer 2024 program and will announce more routes to new destinations in the coming months.

In July, Norwegian announced its intention to acquire regional carrier Widerøe, hoping the deal would be finalized by the end of this year. However, the Norwegian Competition Authority needs more time to review the deal, and there is likely to be a slight delay.

By Mian Saeed Ahmed Khan