Norwegian Air says it could run out of cash in 2021

Heavily indebted Norwegian Air might have to halt operations in the first quarter of 2021 as it struggles with a coronavirus travel slump unless it secures fresh funding, the budget carrier said as it reported third-quarter results.

Norwegian was a pioneer in low-fare transatlantic flights whose rapid expansion left it with big debts.

It said it held cash and cash equivalents of 3.4 billion crowns ($376m) at the end of September, down from 4.98 billion crowns at the end of June.

“Norwegian is dependent on additional working capital in order to continue operating through the first quarter of 2021 and beyond,” the carrier said.

Norway’s government yesterday rejected a plea for more state support from the airline whose shares have lost 99% of their value since January, saying it would be too risky.

The airline said it would furlough 1,600 more staff, leaving just 600 people still working, down from a pre-pandemic 10,000. It will only fly 12 routes, all domestic.

The company had sought a government rescue package of between 4 billion and 5 billion crowns according to a report by business news site E24, citing anonymous sources.

It said funding could potentially come from debt refinancing, a sale of aircraft and other assets, a conversion of debt to equity or from its owners.

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