The airline asked its 1,000 British air crew members to accept major wage cuts or layoffs at the end of March, but workers were told the airline “hadn’t of funds readily available to pay employees this next payday “April 25.
The company intends to request that the UK government leave scheme cover 80% of staff salaries up to £ 2,500 when it opens on April 20, but does not have the funds to pay workers in the interval.
The workers received a letter regarding the delay in payment, seen by the Guardian, indicating that the airline is still awaiting rescue funding from the Norwegian state. “Norwegian has not yet managed to get support from the Norwegian government and has therefore had to take drastic measures to survive until May,” the letter said.
In order to unlock state aid from the Norwegian government, the low-cost carrier needs its creditors to approve its bailout package, which proposes to convert 44.5 billion crowns (3.3 billion pounds) of debt into shares while issuing new shares, almost erasing the value of the company’s current shareholders.
The note was sent to workers by OSM Aviation UK HR, a crew management company that directly employs the British crew of Norwegian and is half owned by Norwegian.
Pilots and cabin crew are warned “that an optimistic pay date would be May 1”, if funds from the British government arrive, but they could receive their April salary until mid-May.
The airline said: “The crew employer, OSM, has been in constant dialogue with the unions concerned to reach the best possible deal for our crew colleagues based in the UK. “
Norwegian is the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe behind easyJet and Ryanair, but in mid-March it immobilized most of its fleet until mid-June and temporarily laid off 90% of its staff.
The loss-making airline was trying to reconsider its finances with an emergency cash call even before the spread of the coronavirus stopped international travel.
The company must reduce its debt-to-equity ratio in order to access the next tranche of support from the Norwegian government. It has offered loan guarantees of up to K € 3 billion (£ 240 million) to airlines, including Norwegian ones, under strict conditions, and the airline is currently only entitled to about one tenth of the aid.
Existing stocks are “almost worthless” according to analysts at broker City Bernstein, adding that the airline needs at least 2.7 billion crowns (175 million pounds) in equity.
“The Norwegian is on the phone. However, there is hope for the airline and, pending an agreement with the creditors, it could continue to fly, “said Bernstein analyst Daniel Röska, who added that Norwegian could survive. as a transporter focused on the Scandinavian market.