Low-cost carrier (LCC)Norwegian edged back into the black in 2015, recording a full-year profit of NOK246.2 million ($28.7 million), reversed from a loss of NOK 1.07 billion in 2014.

Revenue for the year was up 15% at NOK 22.5 billion, compared to NOK 19.5 billion a year previously, with ancillary revenues growing faster, up 20.1% to NOK 3.3 billion compared to the previous 12 months. Passenger numbers rose 7% to 26 million, while load factor climbed 4% to 86%.

Capacity grew 5% to 49 billion ASKs, while RPKs climbed 12% to 42.2 billion.

The large loss in 2014 was put down to rapid expansion of Norwegian’s fleet. Last year’s growth of just 5% “represented a breather in the company’s expansion, explained by fading out old aircraft while adding new aircraft to the fleet,” the company said.

Weaker figures toward the end of 2015 were attributed to a combination of adverse results on fuel hedging activities and the depreciation of the Norwegian currency against the dollar.

“We enter 2016 with favorable fuel costs and one of the youngest fleets in Europe, which presents a significant competitive advantage,” said CEO Bjørn Kjos, who warned of potential squalls on the horizon.

“We see a good demand for quality flights at affordable fares, but the unpredictable political decision to introduce passenger tax in Norway is creating an uncertain situation in this market. It is a paradox that the company with the lowest emissions seems to be punished the hardest.”

The tax, due to become effective from April 1, has already angered fellow-LCC Ryanairand there have been fears that any cuts in services to airports that depend heavily on LCC operators, such as Oslo Rygge, could have a serious effect on the future of the airports.

Source: atwonline.com

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