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Norwegian Air Resumes International Flights as Demand Returns

Norwegian jet from below

As demand returns to Europe's skies, Norwegian announce the restart of many routes. Here's what you need to know about the revised schedule.

Norwegian Air has announced the restart of many routes that were previously halted due to travel restrictions across Europe. The move will see the return of 12 of its fleet on top of the eight already in the air. Nordic rival SAS also announced an expansion of service.

Airlines are among the businesses hardest-hit by recent events that put a stop to most international travel. Norwegian faced a serious threat of bankruptcy, but managed to avoid it due to government help and a substantial restructuring program. The new ownership structure includes a company controlled by the Chinese state as one of the largest shareholders.

Norwegian Air temporary route map
Norwegian's routes from Oslo as of July 2020

Employees returning to work

The airline had laid off 90% of its employees, but some will now return to work. More than 300 pilots and 600 cabin crew based in Norway will operate the fleet of 20 aircraft. About two-thirds of those will be employees returning to work from a layoff period.

“We're getting back in the air with more planes and we're reopening many of the routes which our customers have requested,” said Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram in a statement.

Restarted routes to/from Oslo

For the last few months, Norwegian has shrunk to become little more than a domestic carrier in Norway, serving some critical routes along with SAS and Widerøe in an agreement with the Norwegian government.

A substantial change this early in the year had not been expected. Jacob Schram had previously announced the company would be in “hibernation mode” for 2020, before slowly ramping up operations in 2021.

Norwegian 737-800 airline in the sky on a snowy day

But Norwegian announced yesterday it would increase the frequency on Norwegian domestic routes, and resume flights from Oslo to and from many European destinations.

“The reopening of flights is the result of recent increased demand from customers and is also in line with other airlines across Europe that are also resuming flights,” said the airline's statement.

From July 1, the domestic service within Norway will return to a more normal service. For example, there will be 29 weekly departures from Oslo to Bergen, 28 from Oslo to Trondheim, and 25 from Oslo to Stavanger. The airline also announced a single domestic route within Denmark.

Restarted European routes

From July 1, the airline will also restart many European routes to/from its Oslo hub. However, there will be a low frequency on many of these routes, typically just two or three departures per week. This is presumably to match demand. At the time of writing, most non-Nordic citizens are still not allowed to enter Norway.

The train station inside Oslo Airport
Oslo Airport will see increased numbers of Norwegian departures

Exceptions include London and the other Scandinavian capitals Stockholm and Copenhagen. Those will have seven weekly departures. Spanish destinations Malaga and Alicante will also see seven weekly departures from Oslo.

There will be three weekly departures to Berlin, Helsinki, Paris and Barcelona. The remaining destinations will all get two weekly departures. This includes Amsterdam, Antalya, Budapest, Chania, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Gdansk, Krakow, Munich, Nice, Palanga, Palma (Mallorca), Prague and Reykjavik.

What will it be like to fly?

Of course, a question most people considering taking a flight right now will have is about any additional rules or restrictions. The airline says: “We want our customers to feel safe when flying with Norwegian, and the health and safety of our customers and colleagues always comes first.”

There are a number of temporary measures introduced for the time being. This includes a requirement for the use of mouthguards for anyone aged six or above. There will be no on board service, and passengers will be scattered throughout the cabin wherever possible.

SAS to increase flights

During July, SAS will also increase the number of departures from its three Scandinavian hubs: Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Several routes will restart from Copenhagen, including long-haul services to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Some European flights will resume from Oslo to destinations in Spain and Croatia, as well as to Rejkyavik, the capital of Iceland.

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

12 Comments

  1. Fantastic article read. Glad to read flights are getting back to normal. May the land too recover from the civic 19. Hopefully life can be normal again and there’s not a phase 2. Very interesting to read flights are back as tourism is a fifth of the Norwegian economy. Plus those fellow people with all those jobs in tourism. Including Norwegians and not.

  2. I have been very depressed over not being able to fly in and out of Arlanda or Kastrup this summer from San Francisco. I feel like I have been cheated out of my summer. This lockdown is medieval and getting to be more than I can bear.

  3. Sad to read that a Chinese company is now a major stockholder. Aren’t there any Scandinavian millionaires who could have stepped in to buy the newly issued shares?

  4. As a UK citizen with a property in Norway, I understand that I should be able to visit it now, during general lockdown. I have approached both the UK Norwegian Embassy and also the Oslo one, but to date have not been able to get a definitive answer. Indeed I have got no answer at all at time of writing this, except automated emails which do not contain the information that I want! It seems it is impossible to contact anyone at either Embassy to speak to, and this really is not good enough. People need answers if they have questions!

    1. I am a British citizen married to a Norwegian passport holder owning a holiday home in Norway. The official Norwegian site U.D.I. states that I can travel with my wife to Norway taking along proof of marriage and ownership of property in Norway ( This also applies to long term partners) . We wrote to the Norwegian Consulate asking them to confirm this with us and they said the U.D.I. information was correct at this time.

    2. Hi Roger, I’m in a similar predicament. I’m a UK citizen but my wife is Norwegian and owns property there. The UDI website indicates that we should be able to holiday in Norway in July as planned. I have also written to the Norwegian consulate in London and they confirm the UDI website is correct and gives up to date advice.

  5. I am a UK (EEA) citizen who would like to visit my son and family in Oslo. What does 10 days quarantine involve? Can I stay with them? Can I gO out for a walk?
    Jeremy

  6. Hello, I have read up a lot about flying etc.. Borders and what not. Im a UK citizen. My girlfriend is Norwegian. I would just like to know when it looks like I will be able to fly over and see her? I think they may be talking about EU countries being able to travel July 20th?

    But just not sure at all.

    Maybe you guys can give me a bit of information 🙂

    Thanks

    Lewis

    1. All the information on various personal situations involving travel to Norway is on the official U.D.I. site but is subject to change and is ultimately the decision of the immigration at the airport, so there is a risk involved. I have booked a flight to Oslo for next week and I am hoping that the Covid situation does not deteriorate over the next week. I am expecting to isolate for ten days with no contact and shopping delivered to our doorstep by friends. I have heard of some heavy fines being issued to people who breach the rules.

  7. This link which was eventually supplied by the London Embassy seems to solve one question: https://www.udi.no/en/about-the-corona-situation/eueaa-national-or-family-member/#link-18170 . What I really want is for SAS to get going again from Oslo to London, as I have some cancellation vouchers to use up, rather than having to buy more tickets! Come on SAS, time to get going, or Norwegian will take all the trade. Let us know when you are going to start – now!

    1. Personally I doubt the U.K. will be included in the July 15 batch of countries unless things improve their fast. If Sweden remains excluded then the chances of the U.K. being included must be pretty slim. Point being – demand for U.K. – Norway flights might therefore remain low for the foreseeable future. But who knows!

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