Norwegian dismisses analyst’s negative report

Norwegian has dismissed analyst comments suggesting it is facing a cash crunch this Christmas as “pure speculation”.

Danske Bank analyst Martin Stenshall was reported in Norway as suggesting the low cost carrier faces breaching banking covenants at the end of the year unless it finds fresh capital.

A breach could see the airline “land in an evil spiral and the crisis will escalate”, he told a Norwegian newspaper.

The airline is in talks over selling part of its fleet, and major shareholders, such as boss Bjorn Kjos and British Airways owner International Airlines Group, could also be called to bail out the debt-laden airline, the third largest operating from Gatwick, according to reports.

The concern was raised as Norwegian and other carriers face hefty bills due to the Gatwick drone attack shutdown.

The Gatwick disruption saw aircraft grounded for 36 hours with more than 1,000 flights cancelled and 140,000 passengers affected.

However a Norwegian spokesman said: “This is pure speculation.

“Our liquidity is satisfactory, we attract hundreds of thousands of new passengers every month and we are currently working on selling parts of our fleet, which will further strengthen our financial situation.”

Shares in the carrier surged in October as it revealed discussions to sell up to 140 aircraft into a joint venture.

Chief financial officer Geir Karlsen said last month: “We are evaluating the whole route programme – long-haul and short haul. Winter will be challenging market-wise and with the fuel prices we see. We will take out routes that are not performing.”

The capacity reductions will come in the first months of 2019.

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