The grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft hit passenger carryings by low-cost carrier Norwegian in May.

Monthly numbers fell by more than 59,000 due to 18 of the airline’s new generation 737 Max aircraft being affected by a global grounding of the type following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The 737 Max has been grounded since March after the two crashes in five months in which 346 people died.

Norwegian carried almost 3.4 million passengers in May, down by 59,047 over the same month last year.

Chief executive Bjorn Kjos said: “With 18 Boeing 737 Max grounded, we carried fewer passengers in May compared to the same month last year.

“However, our customers travel longer distances and we see a higher unit revenue.

“Following a period of significant expansion and investments, the figures show that our growth is slowing down, in line with our strategy of moving from growth to profitability.

“I’m also pleased to see that our on-time performance continues to improve.”

Norwegian operated 99.3% of scheduled flights in  May, with  81% departing on time, an improvement of 3.7  percentage points.

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