Norwegian new CEO aims at profit

 

High-flying low-cost money-losing Norwegian Air hopes to return to profitability with a new management team on board. The company has been run by interim execs since the departure of founder Björn Kos in July.

Jacob Schram, and executive with years of top management experience, but none in the airline industry, replaces interim CEO Geir Karlsen. The company got a new board chair last spring also, Danish executive Niels Smedegaard, who picked Schram.

The company, which expanded rapidly and almost single-handedly shaped the trans-Atlantic market with discount fares, started to run into financial headwinds last year as costs for new planes and new markets sagged behind sales. Amid rumors the company might be sold, it stayed afloat in part by selling off some of its fleet and closing low-performing routes.

Strategies for a return to profitability include selling fewer tickets by running fewer flights but with fuller loads and starting to modestly raise ticket prices. The first fruits of those changes may be seen in good third-quarter results for this year, but the busy summer season next year will likely determine win or lose.

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