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Widerøe Bombardier Dash 8 (photo: © Thorbjørn Brunander Sund, danishaviationphoto.com)

Norwegian tax hits results at Widerøe

The regional airline had a tough year fighting multiple aircraft failures and government taxation, as its financial results make clear.

Norway’s regional airline Widerøe had a tough 2018, fighting multiple aircraft failures and unwanted government taxation, and in just two years its operating profit has fallen by as much as 72%.

The transport group Torghatten, which owns a two-thirds majority stake in Widerøe, has just presented accounts for 2018. Revenues for the year increased to NOK 4.72 billion (€483 million), an increase of NOK 272 million.

But since operating costs also rose, by NOK 379 million, the carrier has for the second consecutive year posted a loss.

“The combination of a persistently high level of tax on domestic air transport in Norway and historically high fuel prices weakened the result for Widerøe in 2018,” Torghatten, which also owns another transport company, Fjord1, protests in a commentary.

“In particular, the introduction of a passenger tax in 2016 and other public taxes have reduced demand, supply and profitability.”

The Nordic region’s largest regional airline, Widerøe flies to twice as many Norwegian airports as any other airline. Which means it has been hit extra hard by the domestic air tax despite recent concessions by the Norwegian government.

Widerøe announced route closures as a result of the tax, but the proposals to ease the tax and reduce start-up fees prompted the company to postpone that decision.

International potential
Widerøe has recently invested in new, larger Embraer jets and has opened several international routes, such as between Bergen and Billund. In its commentary, Torghatten points out that there is great potential in these routes.

In other news today, Widerøe says it will add a third daily flight on weekdays between Stavanger and Scotland’s Aberdeen International Airport. The new lunchtime flight will be added from June 3 until June 21 and again from August 12 until October 24.

The final accounts for Widerøe, including results after tax, are not included in the consolidated financial statements. These numbers will only be clear later, Check-in.dk reports.

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