Norse Atlantic, load factor was 60 per cent last month

Norse Atlantic Airways said on Tuesday that its load factor last month was just 60 per cent, but the upstart low-cost, long-haul carrier remains optimistic that by slashing its route network over the winter months it can improve both yields and its ailing load factor.

The Oslo-based carrier launched earlier this year with an average load factor of around 75 per cent, but this quickly dropped to just 69 per cent in August and plunged even further to a miserable 58 per cent in September.

Chief executive Bjorn Tore Larsen has blamed the disappointing figures on Norse Atlantic’s rapid expansion, and the airline is slashing its network to just a few transatlantic routes for the next six months.

Larsen says the load factor (a measure of how many available seats on a route have actually been sold) has swelled to 85 per cent on these core routes and claims forward bookings continue to show a positive trend.

“The quick and decisive action to scale down our network in line with demand and to focus on core routes for the winter season puts Norse Atlantic in a much stronger position during the months ahead,” Larsen said on Tuesday as the carrier confirmed it had now subleased five of its 15-strong Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.

In contrast to other transatlantic carriers, Norse has warned of a “challenging” winter amidst fears that inflationary pressures, rising fuel bills and a cost of living crisis could hit ticket sales.

The airline is expected to announce its core Summer 2023 schedule later this week and has indicated further route announcements in December.