AUSTIN (KXAN) — Norwegian Air has discontinued its direct flights from Austin to London and Paris in a move to focus on shorter, European flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline informed Austin Bergstrom International Airport of the change Thursday and no longer lists those routes as an option on its website. The airline started its direct flight to London in March 2018 and had announced in October 2019 it intended to start Paris flights, but those never got off the ground because of the pandemic.
ABIA said the airline had been a “valued member of the AUS community” and that “we are saddened by this news, and wish them success in the future.”
Norwegian Airlines’ Board of Directors announced a “simplified business structure” for the company on Thursday, saying it would focus on a dedicated short haul route network within Europe, starting with 50 narrow-body aircraft in 2021. It noted in a release that the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the airline industry, including grounding the company’s entire Boeing 787 fleet since March 2020.
It said it would contact any affected customers and refund them.
“Our focus is to rebuild a strong, profitable Norwegian so that we can safeguard as many jobs as possible. We do not expect customer demand in the long haul sector to recover in the near future, and our focus will be on developing our short haul network as we emerge from the reorganisation process,” said Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian. “It is with a heavy heart that we must accept that this will impact dedicated colleagues from across the company. I would like to thank each one of our affected colleagues for their tireless dedication and contribution to Norwegian over the years.”
The most recent passenger numbers show 509,400 people flew out of ABIA in November, which is down 65% from the year before. Those numbers have been slowly climbing from a low in April 2020.