Widerøe ,the largest regional airline operating in the Nordic countries, has announced that it will reduce the planned number of flights to domestic destinations from October 1 due to a significant decline in demand for flights.
The loss of government purchases and reductions in fees also contributed the airlines’s decision to slash frequencies on commercial short-haul routes.
The airline has battled with the profitability of commercial short-haul routes for several years. The novel coronavirus pandemic has led to a sharp slump in demand for flights in Norway, further affecting the viability of the routes.
Norway’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has been purchasing a minimum offer on commercial short-haul routes since March to ensure critical infrastructure in the districts. However, the state’s support will end October.
The Norwegian authorities were also out early and decided on reductions in taxes and fees to remedy the crisis-stricken aviation industry. These aids will end on October 31.
“With the market situation we see ahead and the framework conditions that will apply, Widerøe will unfortunately have to reduce the offer on a number of commercial short-haul routes,” said the airline.
“Widerøe is not satisfied with the route offer that the affected destinations receive as a result of the adjustments that we now have to make. Unfortunately, we have no choice and have to adapt to the framework conditions and demand that apply at all times,” said Christian Skaug, Commercial Director in Widerøe.
“We are a commercial company fighting to survive in the midst of a pandemic. Without state aid, we will unfortunately not be able to maintain these routes, and we are sincerely sorry for that, Skaug concludes.”
Widerøe Flight Schedule Changes in October
The direct route from Skagen to Tromsø will be cut. Passengers going to / from Tromsø will be able to travel via Bodø. The airline plans to retain two daily flights between Bodø and Skagen.
The airline will axe flights from and to Skagen, Vadsø, Kirkenes, Florø og Hovden.
|Route||Current Frequency||Frequency in October|
|Vadsø – Tromsø||2 daily flights||1 daily flight|
|Kirkenes – Tromsø||2 daily flights||1 daily flight|
|Florø – Bergen||4 daily flights||3 daily flights|
|Florø – Oslo||2 daily flights||1 daily flight|
|Hovden – Oslo||2 daily flights||1 daily flight|
The routes that the airline serves on behalf of the Ministry of Transport and Communications are not affected by the changes.
Widerøe Flights are of Great Importance in Norway
Widerøe AS is the parent company of the group’s ground handling, airline, technical services and Internet subsidiaries. In total, the company employs approximately 3,000 people. WGH handles ground services at 42 airports in Norway and Widerøe operates flights to 50 destinations in Norway and Europe.
In Norway, the airline’s flight operations are of great importance for both business, healthcare, education, tourism and culture. The company, Norway’s oldest airline, serve as the public transport of Norway’s rural and hard-to-reach towns.