Norwegian Air to cut 607 jobs at Barcelona Airport
Airline to close long-haul hub in Catalan capital and dismiss 85% of staff in Spain
Norwegian Air has announced its intention to begin a collective dismissal procedure of 1,191 people in Spain, equivalent to 85% of its current total workforce.
Of these, 607 are based at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, with the vast majority at the airline's long-haul base.
The USO trade union has criticized the move, and warns that, once the long-haul base in Barcelona is wound up, the short-haul base faces a similar fate.
Short-haul hubs in Gran Canaria and Tenerife South will also close, with the operational bases in Málaga and Alacant (Alicante) remaining in use, although with only one aircraft this year.
Negotiations with the unions will begin on Tuesday and are scheduled to last a month. Both USO and the Sepla pilots' union have announced that they will enter talks with the aim of maintaining as many jobs as possible.
The company released a statement saying that it is in the process of "restructuring," which has already affected other markets where the company had operations: the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy and France. Norwegian Air sources confirm that the job cuts are a consequence of ending its long-distance operations and resizing its operations.
The airline is going through financial difficulties that have worsened with the pandemic and led it to reduce its fleet. Until last year, Barcelona-El Prat airport was home to Norwegian's long-distance hub for southern Europe.
In March and April this year, the airlines reconstruction plans were approved by courts in Ireland and Norway respectively.
The number of passengers using Barcelona-El Prat airport plummeted by 75.8% during 2020 compared to the previous twelve months.
Travel restrictions due to the global coronavirus pandemic meant that only 12.7 million people flew in to or out of Catalonia's biggest airport, the lowest figure this century.