Norwegian Air Pilot Strike Cost $43 Million as Traffic Declined

Norwegian Air Shuttle AS said a pilot strike this year cost the company 350 million kroner ($43 million) in lost revenue and expenses as monthly passenger numbers fell for the first time ever.

Losses from canceled flights totaled 120 million kroner, while expenses such as food and accommodation for affected passengers amounted to 110 million kroner, the Fornebu, Norway-based carrier said in a statement. Lost bookings trimmed income by 120 million kroner.

The walkout, which began Feb. 28 and dragged on for more than a week, was called by the Norwegian Pilot Union on concern that working conditions in Norway, Denmark and Sweden would deteriorate in a push to trim costs. Norwegian Air agreed a new three-year pay deal with its Scandinavian pilots on March 10.

“The strike among the Scandinavian pilots affected our company considerably and amounted to huge additional costs,” Chief Executive Officer Bjoern Kjos said. The situation “would have been even more difficult” if the company didn’t have a significant customer base outside Scandinavia, he said.

Following the walkout, passenger numbers in March fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier to 1.73 million.

Passenger figures and revenue for March were better than expected, Martin Stenshall, an analyst at Danske Bank A/S, said in a note to investors today.

The shares rose 7.2 percent to 265.3 kroner at 9:30 a.m. in Oslo, paring the decline to 4 percent this year.

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