A solitary phone rang in the NTI newsroom this afternoon. It was Neil's 'P&C Secret Phone', which we are all forbidden to answer as he calls it his 'scoop line', incoming calls to which can only be answered by people aged over 70. Blade took the call explaining that shum (see previous article for an inexplicable explanation of this) is not 'people', as shum is identifying as a moonbeam today.
It turns out that Norwegian Airways may, (or may not) it is alleged, have made all of their staff at Gatwick redundant this afternoon, another huge blow for the airport, as the only thing that flies from there now are a quarrel of sparrows and the zipper on the front of the one remaining janitor's trousers. The Norwegian Airways website still looks officially busy and is booking flights from Gatwick to Bergen this weekend, but you heard it here first.
This follows easyJet's greyer than orange news today that the fourth biggest airline in Europe, carrying 96.1 million people in 2019, flew just four hen parties, two cabin crew on their way home and the boss of Norwegian Airways back to Oslo from Gatwick yesterday. They reported losses of £1.25 billion to September 2020 and the next plane they have scheduled to leave is in March 2022. It looks like they could be returning to 00 Sunak soon, twisting their Oliver cap, asking for a top-up to the £600 million already secured from the big-company Coronavirus borrowing facility, as although they claim they have a cash cushion of £2.3 billion in their Nationwide deposit account they are burning cash at about £700 million a month, giving them until about January.
Johan Lundgren, chief executive, has a recorded message for the Government on which he pushes play every two weeks, and this is to “step up with a bespoke package of measures” for the aviation industry. This is a little curious, as easyJet's trading update states rather bullishly that removing costs has put the airline in a position “to emerge from the pandemic in an even more competitive position”.
Which is it to be, Johan? Are you to be the airline turning off the lights at Gatwick, or not?