15 JULY 2019
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The chief executive and co-founder of Norwegian Air, Bjørn Kjos, said last week he was stepping down after 17 years in charge, just as the airline was announcing what it called its financial turnaround was “moving in the right direction”.
Kjos, 72, said at a press briefing: “I’m not sorry. I am way overdue. You should not run an airline when you are past 70.” CFO and deputy CEO Geir Karl Karlsen has been named acting CEO and Kjos will continue as an adviser.
Norwegian’s second quarter results showed increased revenue and reduced costs, reflecting a programme of slower growth introduced some months ago as the carrier faced up to reported financial problems.
However, net profit dropped by 75% from a year ago to NOK73.2m (£7m) in the second quarter. The company lowered its forecast for growth in available seat kilometres to between 0%-5% for 2019, down from 5%-10% growth.
Unit revenue was up 13%, and the company reported a Q2 EBITDAR excluding other losses/gains of NOK2.3bn (£213m), the highest yet in a second quarter and a significant increase over the NOK1.16bn (£107m) for the second quarter last year.
Norwegian said the 737 MAX grounding had affected demand, operating expenses and production negatively and it expected the cost on the 2019 results to be about NOK700m (£65m).
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