A costly 11-day strike by pilots at budget carrier Norwegian has ended, but it will take time for normal operations to be resumed.

Tens of thousands of passengers had their travel plans thrown into chaos due to industrial action at the airline’s business covering Scandinavia.

A new collective agreement has seen the company establish a contributory pension for the pilots, a reduced loss of license insurance, as well as a more flexible work schedule, Norwegian said.

The Scandinavian pilots’ collective agreement has some of the best terms in the industry, the airline claimed. The deal has been signed with the Scandinavia pilot companies in which they are hired.

The Norwegian Group has also given an “extraordinary guarantee” of employment for all pilots employed in Scandinavia until October 2017.

But the carrier warned that it will take some time before operations are back to normal as many of aircraft and staff are out of position ahead of today’s flying programme.

Chief executive Bjørn Kjos said: “I am very relieved that the strike has been called off and that our passengers finally can feel confident that our flights will operate as normal again.

“I am terribly sorry for the problems our passengers have experienced as a result of the pilot strike.

“The company has incurred substantial financial costs. It has been an extremely challenging period both for our passengers and our many employees who have been working day and night to take care of customers in the best possible way.

“I am also very grateful for the patience and support that we have received from the public.”