Norwegian intends to lay off 85% of its workforce in Spain

The decision implies leaving bases in Barcelona, Gran Canaria and Tenerife Sur inoperative

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Norwegian already has the permission to operate between the U.S. and Barcelona

BarcelonaNorwegian has informed its workforce it intends to lay off 1,191 workers throughout Spain. According to Union Sindical Obrera (USO) and Sepla, this number of people involves 85% of the staff of the company in the State. The unions also add that the decision has been taken after "more than a year benefiting from the furlough scheme". In addition, this massive layoff means the end of long-haul operations from Barcelona, as well as "a brutal cut in short-haul operations".

"Norwegian has announced its intention to leave three of the five short-haul bases remaining in Spain, namely Barcelona, Gran Canaria and Tenerife Sur inoperative and without crew ," says USO. "Norwegian would maintain its two operational bases in Málaga and Alicante, although with only one aircraft each during this year," specifies USO.

The company had already explained earlier this year that the future of the airline was to eliminate its long-haul flight. Jacob Schram, CEO of the company, then defended it as a way to bet on the short-haul, but the new announcements indicate this will also be affected. To all this, the USO and Sepla add that the move comes shortly after the airline has initiated recruitment processes for pilots in Denmark and Finland, which, according to the union, implies that the airline intends to supply the Spanish production from there.

The only thing the airline has said this Monday is that this is a restructuring process that has been carried out in "each and every one of the markets where the company had operations" (Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy and France) and that it is important for them to take into account that Spain will be the only place outside Scandinavia where Norwegian will maintain a permanent base.

But the staff cuts are evidence of the dire financial situation that the company has been in for some years and that precipitated both the temporary suspension of flights with Boeing 737 Max aircraft and mobility restrictions related to the pandemic. In addition, at the end of last year the Norwegian government refused to help the airline with public money, which led the company to request a debt moratorium in Norway.