LONDON – Norwegian Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) Flyr are buckling up for a tough ride in the winter season, heavily reducing their flight frequencies and laying off staff.
The carrier is aiming to cut costs by 50% and save an estimated 400 million NOK. “There’s no other way”, says CEO Tonje Wikstrøm Frislid.
Route reductions and layoffs
As Flyr (FS) is seeing a decreasing demand for travel due to increasing electricity prices, spiked bank interest rates, and increased costs in general, they are now taking hard measures to get through the winter season.
The measures being taken are unfortunately set to strike employees as multiple staff will be laid off, as well as their route network decreasing massively due to decreased demand, as a result of the issues mentioned just above.
Flyr CEO Tonje Wikstrøm Frislid commented on the situation, saying:-
“We are entering a demanding winter season where discretionary consumer spending is expected to decrease significantly following the recent interest rate hikes, high general cost inflation, and record high energy prices.”
This is hard-hitting to the airline industry and Flyr as a Company and will result in reduced demand for air travel. This, together with the lasting high jet fuel prices, leaves us with no other option than to adjust our route offering for the coming winter season.”
“Unfortunately, this also forces us to furlough several of our dear colleagues. However, our goal is to put in place voluntary arrangements to retain as many as possible.”
“By implementing these measures, we will be well positioned to ramp up with full force for the coming spring and summer,”
CEO Tonje Wiktrøm Frislid also added:-
“We have experienced satisfactory demand on our routes to European holiday destinations and will maintain a selection of popular destinations for the coming winter.”
“At the same time, we must admit that it has taken longer than expected to build loyalty among business travelers on domestic routes in Norway, where the incumbent carriers maintain large market shares”
“Development of solutions for distribution through travel agencies, where the majority of business travelers book their flights, has also taken too long.”
“Moreover, it has not been to our advantage that the government in Norway has contributed billions of NOK in covid-19-related financial aid to our main competitors,”
“Feedback provided by our guests thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, proving that we represent something new to the industry.”
“We have achieved this by utilizing technology that simplifies booking through mobile platforms; by offering direct and permanent employment in the actual airline in Norway; by being available to our guests when they need assistance; and by prioritizing our guests, for example, by offering complimentary water, coffee, and tea on all flights.”
“We look forward to welcoming our guests on board this winter, as well as the coming spring and summer,”
The temporary route network
The domestic route network within Norway will see major cuts, with some destinations from Oslo being put on a temporary hold. The destinations in question are:-
- Tromsø (TOS)
- Evenes (EVE)
- Bodø (BOO)
- Stavanger (SVG)
Three of these are cities in Northern Norway, and all of the above will remain on hold from November 2022 to March 2023, with the exception of Christmas and New Year, as Flyr will offer a few flights to Bodø, Tromsø, and Evenes for the season.
In March 2023, they will gradually increase capacity and reinstate flight frequencies again.
As a result of the route cuts, Flyr will operate these routes from November of this year to March of 2023:-
- Oslo (OSL) – Alicante (ALC)
- Oslo (OSL) – Malaga (AGP)
- Oslo (OSL) – Bergen (BGO)
- Oslo (OSL) – Trondheim (TRD)
- Oslo (OSL) – Barcelona (BCN)
- Oslo (OSL) – Milan (MXP)
- Oslo (OSL) – Brussel (BRU)
- Oslo (OSL) – Paris (CDG)
- Oslo (OSL) – Rome (FCO)
- Oslo (OSL) – Geneva (GVA)
- Oslo (OSL) – Nice (NCE)
- Oslo (OSL) – Salzburg (SZG)
- Bergen (BGO) – Alicante (ALC)
- Trondheim (TRD) – Alicante (ALC)
All of these routes do, of course, contain a return flight to the origin at which they started.
Trusting the process
Norwegian economy newspaper E24 recently made a report on this and was able to get a statement from Flyr Cabin Crew Association Representative Bendik Sebastian Hansen, who called the situation a sad one, but further said that the entire association sees the actions as necessary for the airline to secure their employees and future employee’s work-places.
In addition to this, Bendik Hansen said the Cabin Crew Association are forward-looking, as well as the Flyr leadership, indicating that they’re trusting the process.
Bendik Hansen further commented, saying:- “We’re standing strong together with the leadership and employees, and we have a good dialogue.”
Although these actions are drastic, they are necessary for the airline to keep business running.
As most airlines were hit hard during Covid-19, Flyr took a step forward by embarking on the company journey in the midst of all the chaos, which of course, comes at a risk.
Though, as the Covid-19 pandemic is so to say, declared over, the airline industry is on the hunt to make a profit again, and if Flyr sees this as an opportunity to remain operative and later turn profitable in a highly competitive market during the inflation and energy crisis, this is a step that should be trusted by all.