Norwegian has reported a 64% rise in third quarter operating profit, to NOK 2.97 billion (£250m), after slowing capacity growth in the period.
Revenue was up 8% at NOK 14.4 billion (£1.23bn), primarily due to the airline’s intercontinental flights. Passenger numbers declined 3% to 10.5 million.
The airline increased capacity by just 3%, compared with 8% during the third quarter of 2018 and a 48% hike during last year’s second quarter.
Norwegian’s return to profitability
In recent years, Norwegain has pursued an aggressive growth strategy, investing millions into new aircraft, new routes, and long-haul expansion.
Rapid expansion has come at a cost, however, with the airline being plagued by hefty losses and high debt. Indeed, earlier this year, it was forced to raise NOK 3bn (£280m) from shareholders, in addition to exchanging key takeoff and landing slots at London Gatwick for a bond repayment delay.
The announcement of Q3 profits no doubt comes as a relief to many who had doubts about the future of the Scandinavian airline.
“We are delivering on our strategy of moving from growth to profitability,” states acting chief executive and finance chief Geir Karlsen.
Despite “operational issues outside of our control”, the airline has delivered “record-high” earnings and operating revenue while reducing unit cost, he notes.
Norwegian’s year-to-date operating profit stands at NOK 2.13 billion (£180m), compared with a loss of NOK 258 million (£22m) across the same period last year.